By: Momina Raja
If you want to help out in your Richmond Community, FeedMore is the place to do just that. FeedMore, also known as the Central Virginia Food Bank, is a wonderful organization that prepares, collects, and distributes food to the those in need. It’s a place where my family and I volunteer through programs such as food sorting and Meals on Wheels.
Last month I had the chance to interview FeedMore’s CEO, Doug Pick. Mr. Pick, who has been in this position for seven years now, had plenty of good things to say. From cleaning boats and being a mentor, to working at Capital One and Feedmore, he even gives us insight on what donation items they need most and a typical day at work.
What made you want to become CEO of FeedMore?
Up until we hit 50 years old we often think about success, and after 50 we start thinking about contribution. After I semi-retired from Capital One, I was looking for a complex non-profit to assist, and Jim Ukrop told me about FeedMore. I leapt at the opportunity to be a part of the organization.
Were there any Feed More clients that made a lasting impression on you?
One memory that will never leave me is when a lady walked into the lobby (I happened to be there) and put seven crumpled up $1 bills on the front desk as a donation. She let us know that she used to be a client and wanted to make a donation. I’ve always considered that the Holy Grail of our mission- helping folks to a point that they no longer need us.
What is a typical day of volunteering like at Feed More for those who are interested in helping out?
The great thing about volunteering at Feed More is that no two days are the same! Each weekday, we rely on more than 200 kind souls who donate their time and talents to our mission. From sorting nonperishable donations, to preparing and packaging food in our Community Kitchen to delivering our Meals on Wheels, our volunteers are the heart and soul of our hunger-fighting operations.
What’s the most popular meal at Feed More from Meals on Wheels?
I have heard that the meatloaf is some of the best! We have a nutritionist on staff who creates the menus each month and our Community Kitchen team and volunteers bring it to life! From chicken and dumplings to pulled BBQ pork to mac and cheese, our Community Kitchen team lives by the philosophy “food is love” and works to create meals that are nutritious and delicious.
What’s the most popular donation item and what item do you need the most?
Peanut butter is like gold in our world! It has a long shelf life, is rich in nutrients and just about everyone loves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Some of our other most wanted items include lean canned protein (like tuna or chicken) in water, canned fruits and veggies, spaghetti sauce, beans, whole grain cereal, pasta, quinoa, brown rice and healthy snacks like fruit cups, raisins or granola bars.
What time of the year is most neglected and you need more donations than you usually get?
Summers are usually the time when we see a decrease in our donations of food, funds and time, and an increase in need across our 34 county and city service areas.
With kids out of school for the summer, those that struggle with hunger worry where they will get their next meal. Family’s food budgets are stretched thin during the summer months and programs like our Summer Food Service Program, which provides free breakfast and lunch meals to kids 18 and younger, helps meet the need.
What is your favorite part about Feed More?
The people who make our mission possible – our compassionate staff, dedicated volunteers and generous community of supporters who give so much of themselves to Feed More.
What was the first volunteer job that you had or enjoyed most?
My first real volunteer job was that I served as a “big brother” twice a week during the summers of 1971 and 1972 at St. Vincent’s Home for Boys. It was a Catholic home (run by nuns) for boys that had been taken from their homes by the Courts due to a number of often dysfunctional family issues. It was an eye opening experience for this Methodist boy who had never been confronted with those issues and their ensuing repercussions. It helped me develop a great sense of gratitude as a 16/17 year old, for all that I had been given by my family and society.
The most unusual jobs I had were all in my teenage years during three summers. I dug ditches for a summer; stacked and soaked railway ties in creosote; and when I was 14, cleaned dried algae off the bottom of boats with muriatic acid.
What is the best way for high school students like me to be involved with ending hunger in our community?
The first step is doing what you are doing by writing this article – raising awareness about the serious issue of hunger in our community. Talking about hunger and educating individuals on how you can help fight hunger is the first big step.
We find that many individuals first connect to our mission by making a donation of food through a food drive; knowing that the can of vegetables they donate will go to a neighbor who needs it is powerful.
Are you inspired by the work at FeedMore? Visit https://feedmore.org/volunteer/opportunities/ or reach out to Mr. Pick and his staff for more detailed information!