Food For Thought

Exposure to various organizations can be helpful on numerous levels: 1) Deepens our community connection, 2) Provides future networking opportunities, 3) Exposes new strategies for greater ministry effectiveness.

On Tuesday our staff had the opportunity to take a field trip to the new facility of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. This was one amazing operation, as each year they partner with more than 300 agencies, feed more than 163,000 people, and distribute more than 10.2 million pounds of foods and other essential items.

This organization is heavily run by volunteers, operating only a 2-million dollar budget, while taking in over 10-million dollars worth of food each year.

A few “foodbank principles and parallels” follow:

  • It was mentioned that though ACRF has become more of an “organization” it still desires to hold on to its “grassroots” perspective (i.e. Service with care, volunteer-based, etc.). How do the church continue to provide excellence in being “organized” while still remaining an “organism?”
  • It was stated that the people they help the most are their volunteers. Could this be said about your ministry or company’s employees? How do you provide strong volunteer support and training?
  • ACRF tries to maintain a high empathy of the people coming to their organization for help (some maybe feeling awkward or embarrassed), and counter their “barriers” with a high degree of love and grace. Do you know where your target audience is coming from and apply the appropriate ingredients to counter or breakdown their barriers?
  • This organization is operated by an “army of volunteers.” What are you doing now that you should be giving away? What is your recruitment, equipping, and retention strategy of volunteers and/or employees?
  • It was stated that as a Food Bank, “If you are not throwing food away you’re not doing something right.” The idea is that as you offer “safe” food on the brink of expiration, you have to do the meticulous task of sorting through shipments and throwing away items that are outdated…it is inevitable. What programs and processes are we holding onto that are outdated and in turn making our people “spiritually sick?” Where in our ministry is renewal needed with fresh strategy and greater health benefits?

~ by Dave Smith on March 27, 2008.

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