LOGAN — The Southeastern Regional Ohio Food Bank is under new management after employing three new individuals, and once an additional person is hired in March, the food bank will have a brand new management team.
Last June, Tracy Galway took over as division director, Chris MacNeal took over as resource coordinator in late November 2012 and food service operator Katie Schmitzer started near the end of 2012.
Having an entirely new management team can have its challenges, but it’s a welcomed one for the current employees of the food bank.
“The outgoing director was here for 32 years, so this is a chance to have a really fresh set of eyes with new ideas,” Galway said.
Galway, MacNeal and Scmitzer noted how the policies and efforts have changed in recent memory. “The food bank as a whole is changing nationwide,” Galway said. “So it’s good that we’re doing a lot of changing of service and how we do business. This is a good opportunity to look at every aspect of what we do and how we do it.”
A lot of the changes that are taking place are being done in order to streamline the process and become more efficient as funding decreases.
“We’re trying to better align staffing with changes in funding. More of our meals are made from scratch,” she noted. “It’s not just about getting food to people, but it’s about getting healthy food to people.”
MacNeal is trying to combat the funding cuts by going to state politicians and asking them to support food banks and not take funds away.
“It seems like every time we turn around, our resources at the state and federal level are being cut,” MacNeal said. “That’s part of what [Galway] and I have done in the last several months is to go to local, regional and state politicians for support just to plead our case.
“A lot of it is about re-evaluating and getting out of ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mentality and being comfortable with where we’re at,” he continued. “We don’t want to change everything for the sake of change. We want to make it better.”
Galway noted that in 2010, 18 percent of people in the region served by the the Southeastern Ohio Food Bank were food insecure, meaning they didn’t know where their next meal would come from. Hocking County’s rate was 16.5 percent.
“If you’re hungry, you can’t be successful, whether that’s an adult in the workplace or a child going to school,” she said. “We’re looking at how food correlates to help and how we can make some health impacts.”
“It’s about serving as many people as we can while also making a health impact,” Galway noted.
The food bank is now not only serving people, but their animals too. Some people were giving some of their food to their dogs and animals, so the food bank has started taking donations for dog food and distributing it to their Meals on Wheels participants.
These new faces are looking to try new things to improve the food bank. “We’re always looking at new ideas and new ways to collaborate with new things that we are starting,” Galway said.