Quite a few changes have come to the Bootheel Food Bank in the year since Karen Green has served as executive director. In addition to increasing the pounds of food salvaged and distributed, as well as the agencies helped, plus grant money received, some others include:
>New faces at the food bank. "We hired and trained a completely new staff," said Green. There are nine full-time members on board.
>The Board of Directors also changed in makeup, to better represent the 16 counties that are served by the food bank, due to new appointments after others terms expired or they stepped back from the position, said Green.
>The board hired an independent auditor to ensure financial accountability. Green noted that before she came, the staff kept their own books, which is difficult to manage. "That's a huge amount of work," she said.
>The operating deficit was eliminated, something Green said is a big advance.
>Another change was the relocation and upgrade of the Sikeston Food Pantry. Green said the former location was "uncomfortable" for a lot of people, since it was in a high visibility area. "Now it's in a location that's very accessible but it's not really visible to the public," she said.
>To keep people better informed of the food bank's happenings, she is in the process of creating a Web site. A newsletter is also in the words to be circulated to its agencies.
"We need to better communicate who we are and what we do," said Green.
>Multiple food drives were conducted through area schools, civic groups and businesses. Green said it's especially important to get children involved. "I think it teaches them to be community-minded," she said.
>Worn-out delivery trucks and forklifts were replaced.
>The food bank has worked with the Missouri Association of Social Welfare to conduct a survey to better identify hunger issues in Southeast Missouri.