Weld Food Bank was founded in 1982 when community leaders identified the need for a centralized clearinghouse to store donated food in order to serve Weld County's vast territory. Rather than the food pantry of canned goods you might envision, the food bank has grown to become a working 36,700 square-foot operation distributing tens of millions of pounds of food annually, increasingly in the form of fresh products and prepared meals.
Transformation at the Top
Weld Food Bank promotes transparency as a key ethical value in their organization. As a nonprofit, the food bank leaders are accountable to not just donors and staff, but also volunteers, clients, partner agencies, and the rest of the Weld County community. An open door policy and weekly meetings led by each department leader help internal transparency and are driven by similar values on Weld Food Bank's Board of Directors. Volunteers and clients are also surveyed regularly to get feedback from the people in the community with which Weld Food Bank comes into direct contact.
Reinforce and Build
New employees at Weld Food Bank receive in depth training on the organization's values and agree to commit to those principles. Those values are reinforced regularly at staff meetings and were adopted by the Board of Directors as well. Ethical behavior is recognized in one-on-one meetings but also at staff meetings where employees who have demonstrated the organization's core values can earn the employee parking spot for a week.
Unite the Team
Biweekly staff meetings include a discussion of Weld Food Bank values and a reflection on how recent work moves the organization's mission forward. Each year the food bank closes for a day and the entire staff convenes for an all-staff retreat to plan the next year and 3-5 years out. Because the Weld Food Bank team in combating hunger includes dozens of partner agencies, the organization conducts a community assessment every two years to measure program effectiveness and determine local need.
Overall goals for the organization are taken by the departments who all plan departmental retreats to set their own objectives each year. Goals are tracked monthly for the food bank's seven direct programs as well as for partner agencies. The leadership team assess whether fundraising and resources match up with the goals for programming. If at any point a department or program is falling behind its goals, the leadership team works with that department to identify barriers and brainstorm innovative ways to overcome them.
Hiring at Weld Food Bank starts with ensuring that candidates for employment have a strong and personal connection to the organization's mission. Initial applications ask candidates about the research they have done into hunger and food bank programs as well as having candidates address the importance of hunger relief in their cover letter.
New food bank employees are cross-trained in every department so they have a holistic view of the food bank's mission and the programs used to advance that mission. Weld Food Bank is also a part of multiple food bank networks and employees have the opportunity to attend conferences, collaborate with individuals at other organizations, and receive training in best practices from fundraising to checking food temperature.
In 2015 Weld Food Bank distributed 11.9 million pounds of food in Weld County, reaching 50,000 people across all 4,000 square miles of the county. 6.4 million pounds of that food was fresh produce, meat, and dairy. In doing so, Weld Food Bank not only prevented those individuals from going hungry, but also helped many of them continue to work and thrive, strengthening Weld County communities. Weld Food Bank programs and partners also provided invaluable connections and comfort to rural and low-income communities.