Six years ago my brother-in-law approached me and said “You should consider joining the board of the Redwood Empire Food Bank. They really need an architect”. I had no idea what those six years would entail when I said yes. This was my first real service on a non-profit board and it came at a time of great change for the organization.
I served the best way I could by helping them conceptualize, fund, and build out a new building to support their growing mission. The Redwood Empire Food Bank serves almost one in six residents of Sonoma County and the regions north. The issue in Northern California is not starving people but food insecurity. It means that the elderly and low wage earners run out of money for food three weeks into the month. It means that thousands of school children come to school hungry and do not have good diets. I means that poor diets are resulting in health problems such as diabetes and obesity that tend to compound the initial problems.
I’ve helped create a lot of buildings in my career but rarely has a project resulted in such immediate and profound results. With their new facility on Brickway Boulevard, more freezer space means that programs such as Range to Table will have a place to store meat products to add much needed protein to the selection of available foods. The newly opened Value Marketplace, the first of its kind in the nation, is a non-profit market serving the food bank’s clients with healthy food in a dignified and helpful environment. These are just a few of many possibilities now available with their new facility.
Yesterday I received my blue plate award for six years of service on the board of the Redwood Empire Food Bank, including two terms as President. It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I’m grateful TLCD Architecture has given me the time to dedicate to this effort. I urge all of you to consider how your skills might benefit a non-profit organization like the Food Bank. It has changed the way I look at the world. I know it has already helped many people and will continue to do so.