Listening sessions help Second Harvest plan for future

Second Harvest Food Bank is hitting the road to get feedback from the public on how they’ve been serving northwest Missouri.

Posted: Dec. 5, 2018 6:27 PM

(St.Joseph,MO)Second Harvest Food Bank is hitting the road to get feedback from the public on how they’ve been serving northwest Missouri. Wednesday kicked-off a 10 day listening session for the non-profit at Journey Baptist Church.

Second Harvest CEO Chad Higdon said the food bank wants to participate in outreach programs to get insight on how they can improve their services. Public comment will be tracked to help the food bank lay the groundwork for Second Harvest’s five year strategic plan.

"We are keeping an open mind, that's why we have theses. We really are looking for that open and honest feedback," Higdon said. "We want individuals that are vested in our organization to tell us what we are doing well, what we should continue, and maybe things that we can look at doing a little differently."

Each stop will give people the opportunity to highlight issues they see within their community.

Luke McCoy, Assistant Principal at Benton High School, attended the first listening session and said his biggest concern is getting information to vulnerable populations.

"We discussed a lot about who we are missing; what segment of the population we are missing that we could maybe get more information to,"McCoy said.

Benton High School participates in the Second Harvest Backpack Buddies program and hosts an on-site food bank for food insecure families.

“Working with children, a lot of times they will have free breakfast or free lunch or provided those at a reduced rate, but it’s the weekends, it’s the holiday breaks, it’s the evenings that we often worry about,” McCoy said.
McCoy also suggested the food bank work to improve how they communicate with families in need.

"I think it's getting information out to those that may not be receiving information. Social media is a great thing at times, but I know there are people in our community that don't have access to social media, so how are we reaching those families that don't have internet access,"McCoy said.

Higdon said Second Harvest will be taking all suggestions from the community to help get the right resources to people in need and improve their services in northwest Missouri.

“We did this three years ago. We held similar sessions and we heard challenges with transportation issues and a desire to have increased produce,” Higdon said. “We really responded to a lot of that we’ve received, since then, funding from Mosaic Life Care and purchases a refrigerated box truck to do mobile distributions.[Now] we are taking the nutritious food product right to individuals where they live, as opposed to maybe where before they had to travel 30 or 40 miles just to get to the nearest pantry.”

Second Harvest will host their next listening session Thursday morning at 10a.m. at the First Christian Church in Savannah, Missouri. For the full list of stops on Second Harvest’s listening tour, click here.

"They do a great job of meeting the needs of our community, but just like any organization there is opportunity to be better,"McCoy said.

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Mostly sunny skies across northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri on Tuesday. A few more clouds have moved into the area by the afternoon hours and we will see the winds pick up out of the south as well.
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