Longtime food bank director departs

September 14, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank leaders launched a search for a director in early September, after the sudden departure of the longtime manager last month.

Executive Director Cherie Meier left the downtown Issaquah food bank at the end of August. Chairman John Williams said he could not discuss the circumstances surrounding the situation.

Meier could not be reached for comment.

The search — spearheaded by Williams and other members of the food bank board of directors — started before demand for food bank services increases amid the hectic holiday season. Williams said the board intends to advertise the post and interview applicants as soon as possible. The board intends to appoint the next director in October before the holidays strain the food pantry.

In the meantime, clients could notice longer lines at the food bank, as paid staffers and volunteers fill the gap left by the departure.

Leaders at the 28-year-old food bank enacted reforms in recent months after Seattle consultant Moss Adams issued a long list of recommendations last year for the food pantry to improve services.

The report lauded the food bank for meeting goals to assist the needy, and singled out Meier for her service.

“The executive director has provided 20 years of continuous service and is dedicated to the people she serves through the food and clothing bank,” the report states. “She is well respected and liked by staff, volunteers and clients.”

The report suggested that the executive director role be redefined. Consultants called for the manager to spend less time involved in collecting, shelving and managing donations and more time on fundraising, goal setting and community outreach.

In addition, the report recommended better measures to refer clients to additional aid programs, manage volunteers and written procedures to outline accounting, human resources, volunteer coordination and other day-to-day tasks. The report also said the food bank needed to foster better relationships with other nonprofit organizations.

Williams said the food bank had tackled the “low-hanging fruit” recommended in the Moss Adams report, and had started to determine how to address some of the more difficult issues.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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