Agency Relations: Building Community and Capacity – June 30
Author: Elias Piña
At Second Harvest, our Agency Relations team plays a vital role in providing support to our partner agency network, ensuring they have the resources and assistance needed to make a meaningful impact on people facing hunger in their communities. Working as the bridge between Second Harvest and our partner agencies across our 26-county service area, our dedicated team of four staff members focuses on resolving issues, fostering collaboration, and working through agency capacity initiatives, such as improving client distributions.
As the primary point of contact for our partner agencies, our Agency Relations team collaborates with a diverse range of organizations, such as food pantries, meal programs, shelters, recovery centers and other community organizations. Through regular communication, site visits, resource sharing and training, we’ve created a network of support that can extend the impact of our partner agencies. One of the key areas of support our team provides is facilitating agency capacity building.
Capacity building takes form through a variety of different subjects. They range from volunteer recruitment, organizational development, nutrition education nudges, and switching to client choice distribution models. Ultimately, they help strengthen a partner agency’s knowledge, skills, and resources to better serve their communities. Our Agency Relations team works closely with interested partner agencies, developing site-specific plans, workshops, and one-on-one support to empower them with the knowledge to have a greater, impactful response to food insecurity in their communities.
We’ve seen firsthand how capacity building has improved the overall client experience and increased the number of people served. The Cheney Cupboard, a community food bank located in Cheney, Washington, has grown from serving a monthly average of 325 clients in January to about 850 clients in the last three months.
By fostering collaboration and strengthening the bond between Second Harvest and our partner agencies, our Agency Relations team aims to help build a strong, impactful network that can effectively serve families in need. This work can’t be achieved without the support of various feeding organizations that share a common goal of working towards a hunger-free community.