Often times, criticism of nonprofit agencies and others the depend upon local government funding is that there is not enough collaboration among them.
It’s not an unfair observation, but here is some good news: The Food Bank of Western New York and Meals on Wheels for Western New York are merging into a single organization known as FeedMore WNY.
It seems a perfect match. Organizations with similar missions band together to serve more people more efficiently. There is a lot of need out there.
Among the new services FeedMore WNY will provide are summer meal programs for kids along with after-school food programs and food pantries for seniors. In addition, a community kitchen will double as a workforce development training center.
Tara A. Ellis, the former Food Bank president and CEO, will continue in her role at FeedMore WNY. She promised additional programming as a result of this “natural evolution.” Along those lines is the recent announcement that Erie Community College will add a college food pantry program and partnership with FeedMore WNY. Officials project to increase its food distribution by 10 percent in its first three to five years.
The two organizations served a large area: Food Bank of Western New York covered Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie and Niagara counties. Meals on Wheels of Western New York served parts of Erie County.
All 110 employees have been retained. Christine Procknal, former Meals on Wheels president and CEO, will oversee the transition and remain as alliance project director. The new operation will move forward under a joint services agreement with one leadership team and staff and a single board of directors.
The organizations that feed people recognized that they could do an even better job by joining forces and, through other interested parties with wide networks, do more good for more people.
In a metropolitan area that is home to many underfed residents – especially children – it is imperative to innovate. It is good to see these organizations getting together for the greater good.