Apr. 9 – Strength in Diversity
Strength in Diversity
I recently had the opportunity to spend some time sharing ideas with several food bank leaders from Canada’s largest cities. This group, which includes Winnipeg Harvest, collects and distributes approximately 85% of all food to food banks across Canada. Meeting with these industry and community leaders is an excellent opportunity to share insights, idea, successes and failures.
It goes without saying that each operation runs differently with their own set of specific goals and priorities, but it was very informative to see what focuses develop from different strategies.
One of the West Coast’s major food banks has put a lot of work into measuring the impact they have on socioeconomic status and poverty. This means they’re often making adjustments to have a greater effect on the people they’re serving.
One prairie city’s food bank has focused on using technology and infrastructure development to ensure their processes are not the cause of wasted energy or food.
Over on the eastern side of Canada, another food bank is intent on making sure they turn over as many donations as possible as quickly as possible to reduce food waste.
One area Winnipeg Harvest has really blazed a trail in is public advocacy. We’ve made it a strong part of our identity to be a voice in the halls of power on behalf of the people we serve and we take that responsibility very seriously.
There is no one “correct” way to help give food to people who need it. Each and every food bank faces different obstacles and challenges in their own environments and is doing what they believe is best to overcome them. What’s important for us to remember is that we’re all working towards the same goal and we can use each other as inspiration and support like the community we are.