It’s no surprise that the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank is preparing to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, but there is a specific process to how and when the foodbank lends a helping hand.
There is no shortage of food and supplies here inside the warehouse of the foodbank. It would be easy to say ship as much as you can, and as fast as you can, to areas hit hard by Hurricane Harvey, but years of experience proved taking some time for reflection was the first step in some of the most stressful moments.
“In the early years, we had a lot of logistical challenges of products that were being sent down that weren’t needed or products that were needed, but not coming down,” said President and CEO Dan Flowers.
So that's where a middle man come in, helping to relieve the stress put on the foodbanks at the center of a natural disaster. The national office "Feeding America" is reaching out to foodbanks across the nation with an inventory list of items to prepare in advance.
“Anything we can do to take that administrative burden off them and work with the national office is a real benefit for them so they can coordinate locally.”
It starts and ends with constant communication and – the most essential component: teamwork.
“Sharing is kind of in the foodbank DNA. So as soon as we find out what they want and need from us, we’ll put it together ship it out and let you know.”
Flowers calls it a humbling experience when the foodbank team jumps into action at times when people need it the most.
“If you aren’t humbled by a job like this, then you aren’t paying attention.”