By Lauren Palumbo, Chief Operating Officer at Lovin’ Spoonfuls
At Lovin’ Spoonfuls, our work has always been community-based. Whether that was the neighborhood grocery store, or the social service agency down the street meeting the needs of residents seeking assistance, we’ve worked with partners for more than 11 years now, building community and reinforcing the need for us to support each other. That’s the heart of food rescue; we’re saying, ‘Here’s something someone has to offer. Let’s make sure those who need it can access it.’
And now, after a year into a global pandemic, we’re forced to look at how we redefine the way we engage with our community. One way we’re hoping to do this is with the launch of our Community Advisory Boards. These groups, focused regionally in each of the three major footprints where Lovin’ Spoonfuls operates, will be comprised of community members who know our work and are committed to supporting it. Whether that’s a client seeking services from a food pantry, the food pantry manager, or the produce team member at the grocery store around the corner who donates food via Lovin’ Spoonfuls to the food pantry, these individuals will help us shape the future of Lovin’ Spoonfuls, and how we work with communities going forward.
In 2020, we re-prioritized our organization’s work in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. As with much of the country, we found ourselves needing to have difficult conversations as a team, as an employer, as community members. For Lovin’ Spoonfuls, this took a few forms, but one conversation that continued to surface for us was how we include those we serve in our decision-making processes. We know that in order to be the best partner, we need to grow our understanding of the unique needs, challenges, and hopes of the communities we serve. We know that to be of service, it isn’t enough to just hear concerns, but that we truly need to listen.
We’re launching these Community Advisory Boards (CABs for short) later this year, and we’re currently accepting applications for consideration. Once launched, the CABs will meet quarterly to provide feedback to Lovin’ Spoonfuls on our services, our partnerships, and other areas of our work. And we will listen. I’m truly looking forward to being able to sit down with each Board – hopefully in person, but even virtually – to understand their thoughts and recommendations for how we can continue to be an integral part of the communities where we work.
If you’re interested in being a part of our Community Advisory Boards, please submit your information here.