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Kelowna, West Kelowna food banks share executive director
One executive director is now responsible for both Kelowna Community Food Bank and Westside Community Food Bank.
The food banks recently announced plans to start working closer together. The first step toward that goal was the announcement that the food banks will share executive director Lenetta Parry.
The food banks will continue to operate as separate legal entities, with their own board of directors, separate bank accounts and they will issue their own tax receipts.
Food and funds raised in each community will stay in that community.
"I know it's going to be a challenge, but I think the two food banks working together will be beneficial to the clients, the communities and the donors," said Parry.
"There are lots of opportunities to share resources, leverage costs and take advantage of purchasing power."
The decision comes on the eve of the food banks' busiest time of year.
"We're just starting our Christmas hamper registration at both the Kelowna food bank and Westside food bank.
"A lot of people struggle as they get into the colder months; both food banks are seeing an increase in need at both locations."
Parry said details are still being worked out regarding how she will divide her time between the two community food banks.
The executive director has considerable experience at both Kelowna Community Food Bank and Westside Community Food Bank.
She spent more than seven years in Kelowna, serving as associate executive director. Eight months ago she accepted the executive director role in West Kelowna.
The ultimate goal is to alleviate chronic hunger and poverty in the Central Okanagan, said Parry. She noted this direction will help the food banks achieve that goal.
"The two food banks have worked together in the past and tried to help each other out.
"Having a shared executive director, I can manage inventory levels a little more closely so the resources can be shared between the communities so that we continue to meet our mission."
As for the additional workload, Parry said she is confident she can handle the task.
"Working at a food bank requires a lot of flexibility in your schedule. The whole team works a lot of evenings and weekends.
"You want to be there for your clients, particularly in times of emergencies. And that might be on a weekend, so you just have to go with what's happening."
The Westside Community Food Bank plans to adopt some of Kelowna's programming, including Nutrition Improvement Programs in 2014 and the Tiny Bundles program in November.
"Like most stakeholders, our supporters and donors demand high returns. Under this arrangement, we will serve more clients, better," stated Clint Sharples, chair of the Kelowna Community Food Bank.