In the midst of all our operational changes taking place this past year, we recently had a special visit from our national organization, Feeding America. This visit is one that occurs every couple years for the purpose of monitoring our work.
As a member of this nationwide network of more than 200 US food banks, the monitoring process serves as a compliance and evaluation tool. It allows us to bench mark and set standards and goals consistent with our peer food banks across the nation. Staff from Feeding America spend several days with us measuring our compliance with a set of national standards.
We take the evaluation process very seriously. With all of our operational changes these past nine months, it was important to ensure these changes resulted in a positive monitoring visit by Feeding America. For most of our operational staff, it was a brand new experience. Only one person on the warehouse management staff had ever been through one before. To top it off, because of our size, Feeding America staff actually spent a longer period of time (2.5 days) getting to know our operations and looking at every crack and corner in the warehouse.
During Feeding America’s visit, we were evaluated in 24 key areas. Some of those include cleanliness of our warehouse, inventory counts and overall organization of our facilities.
I’m very pleased to tell you that the results of the audit were very positive. Of the 24 areas evaluated, we aced each one! In fact, our auditor commented, “this is the cleanest warehouse I have ever seen.” Her comment was a thoughtful statement about the diligent hard work of our staff day in and day out.
Also, during the evaluation, the Feeding America auditor cited several of our new operational processes as “best in class.” Our new processes will be shared with other food banks in the Feeding America nationwide network who might be struggling with similar issues. After the months of long work improving our operational processes, sharing our best practices and a perfect audit was the utmost compliment we could receive.
Here is a picture of our Food Bank staff celebrating our 2013 perfect Feeding America audit. The signs read, “A Perfect Feeding America Audit!”
Teresa Johansen is the Chief Operating Officer at Roadrunner Food Bank.