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Nov 14 2017 | 

Author: Kate | 

Blog Category:

CAFB sat down with the new Chief Executive Officer of Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, Kevin Drabinski. Here, Kevin shared his past experiences and his excitement about joining the food banking world. 

 

What are you most excited about in your new position?

The reach of the Food Bank is unique in that we enjoy relationships with 200 allied organizations. No one besides us sits at the center of concentric circles of care that extend to every corner of the county. I am excited to help engage the business community and the public at large in a conversation which leads to a growing appreciation of our mission.

When did you begin working in the Non-profit world?

I have previously worked for the Diocese of Monterey for about 16 years. That experience brought me in touch with the pantheon of vulnerable constituencies across four counties including San Luis Obispo. While there, I realized that hunger was a common denominator for many of these groups. I learned the immense value of volunteers and that has continued to be the case at the Food Bank. Every morning when I check in, I walk the warehouse floor and meet the day’s volunteers, and I feel as if I am standing in the river of life of my community.

Why are you passionate about Food Banking?

Food is at the beginning, middle, or end of rituals of all the great faith traditions – sometimes it is at the very center. Sharing a meal is almost a definition of what it means to be human. Therefore, scarcity is a double impoverishment, first of the body and second in how it robs a person of their ability to provide hospitality. I find my passion in our efforts to deliver nutritious food that builds a healthier community.

Do you have any accomplishments that you most proud of?

My tenure as CEO began on Valentine’s Day 2017, and I would point to my best Food Bank accomplishment in that time as having raised the profile of our mission in the county to a higher level. We have a new warehouse, our staff is under one roof, and this gives space to new possibilities for collaboration internally and externally. Businesses have begun to gravitate here to volunteer and hold staff meetings so going forward larger players will have skin in the game with us. On a personal note, my wife and I recently celebrated our 25-year anniversary and raised two daughters so in any era I think that would qualify as an accomplishment as well.

What are your goals for the Food Bank Coalition of SLO?

I have a threefold fundamental wish list for the Food Bank that is grounded in our mission. The first would be for all of our programs and operations to run at the most professional level possible. Second, I want to limit our exposure to risk in many areas including worker and volunteer safety, reliance on singular sources of funding, and succession planning for staff and board functions. Third, I want to continue to grow a culture of teamwork here with our staff, agency partners, and the greater community. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a great satisfaction when working on a team that is pulling in the same direction.

If you could have a super power, what would it be and why?

Admittedly this is a bit of a stretch, but I’ve always admired the work of Mrs. Incredible. She got that big lug of hers pointed in the right direction, always made her kids a priority, kept her cool in a crisis, and fostered the dynamics of family teamwork.

 

Photo Courtesy of Food Bank Coalition of SLO County