Springfield food bank adds staff, seeks more donations

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Second Harvest serves about 13,000 more people now than before pandemic

First, the Second Harvest Food Bank saw an increase in the demand for help. Now, food bank leaders have decided to hire additional staff members to focus on finding more food and funds to meet the demand.

The food bank has added three new permanent positions in recent months, two of which are funded by a three-year grant awarded by Feeding America. The new hires include Faith Schiffer as finance director, Toni Tayloe-Haddix as procurement manager, and Jennifer Brunner as development director.

Executive Director Tyra Jackson said they work closely with Feeding America, and their investment will help Second Harvest meet industry standards because “a food bank our size typically has a development director and manager.”

“During the pandemic, we witnessed an increase in donations and found we need to concentrate on donor relations and cultivation for retention,” Jackson said. “We also had an influx of donated food that has now decreased, but the need continues to grow.”

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The organization serves about 50,000 people now compared to about 37,000 before the pandemic. In the tri-county area, they distribute 6 million pounds of food to 65 non-profits.

The positions will “absolutely assist with securing additional funds and food to meet the growing need in our service area,” she said.

The vision is to build a development team led by Brunner, who joins Audrey Vanzant, development manager. The top fundraising priorities include securing new grant opportunities to expand current programs and outreach, increasing donor engagement and welcoming new donors.

“Bringing on a development director with donor retention and cultivation history and a food procurement manager with grocery retail experience will allow us to raise the funds and secure the poundage of food to meet the increasing need,” Jackson said.

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Tayloe-Haddix will develop relationships throughout the tri-county area with distribution centers, grocery stores, markets, farmers and others, and will also oversee the food drives. Brunner will work on donor relations and cultivation, major gifts, building corporate sponsorships and overall structure development for fundraising efforts.

Jackson said they are fortunate to have their team grow with the support of Feeding America, which funded Tayloe-Haddix and Brunner’s positions.

“Feeding America is committed to helping partner food banks build capacity in order to better help the communities they serve. We know these positions play critical roles in meeting the needs of neighbors facing hunger,” said Amy Beros, vice president of strategic capacity development at Feeding America.

To help donate, call 937-325-8715; mail a check to Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties, 20 N. Murray St., Springfield, OH 45503; or visit the website at www.theshfb.org/donate.

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