Volunteer Name: Bill Clancy        

FFEN Volunteer Role: Project Manager

Current Professional Title: Retired (Dec. 31, 2021)

How did you get involved with FFEN?

Results Matter! As I approached retirement, I was searching for a non-profit agency small, not bloated, nimble enough to be effective and make a positive difference in a vital area. So many great agencies doing important work, but FFEN stood out.

How long have you been volunteering with FFEN?

I began my six month training program on Nov. 1, 2021. There is a lot to learn about the entire hunger relief supply chain, as well as the six food banks and 350 food shelves in Minnesota. The experienced FFEN personnel have been great to learn from.

Why do you share your time and talents with FFEN?

When you reach 71 years of age, you better understand the precious value to time and become even more selective on how you choose to spend the resource of time. We all understand the critical need for healthy food via a dependable dignified supply. Most of all I realized the unique role FFEN fulfills and how it inherently has so much “leverage” in terms of impact when it helps even just one food shelf or one food bank across the lives of so many people.

What is your professional experience (and background) and how does it relate to your volunteer role?

Beginning as an hourly employee and across a career of 50+ years, I worked for the leading manufacturer of metal food cans working with all of the major brands and food processors in the USA and many Internationally. In customer plants my focus was in bringing them better ideas and ways to do things, via continuous improvement, root cause & corrective action and benchmarking. FFEN has a wide array of expertise from the wide array of personnel and gently guides food shelves to consider better, more efficient operations, from space planning to food sourcing analysis to whatever they need. I call it “connecting the dots”.

What have your volunteer projects looked like with FFEN?

While training at FFEN, I have been exposed to a wide variety of food shelves being positively impacted due to FFEN as evidenced by their verbal comments of gratitude. Recently I have been directly involved in assisting a food shelf double in size, with related space planning and other issues. And am now Project Manager to aid an agency operating a food shelf, mobile food shelf, warehouse to consolidate all three locations into one 4th quarter of this year while minimizing disruption of services to clients.

What impact have you seen from your volunteer projects with FFEN, either within the organization or for a local food shelf?

As a new volunteer, I was on many a zoom call either planning or in final review of the completed project. Any doubts I had about the effectiveness of FFEN were erased quickly when I heard the people running the food shelves making comments such as “we could never have done this without you”, “somehow you did all this despite the pandemic”, “we are serving so many more people”, and “people can not believe the new space you planned for us.”

Why do you feel FFEN’s work is important for the Minnesota Hunger Relief Sector?

Food shelves are operated by good hearted people, working with whatever limited resources they have, depending on volunteers, and are striving to just get as much quality food as possible to as many people as possible. Lots of inherent limitations and local practices from location to location.

FFEN brings data, benchmarking, best practices learned across the entire sector to any food shelf who wants explore better ways.

Is there a specific volunteer moment/experience that you’d like to share more about?

Just visiting different food shelves and speaking to the key personnel running them makes you grateful for how committed they are to serving their community. Recently as we finished assembling some new shelving inside a reconfigured floor plan, I asked the manager if she would like to hammer the final shelving in place. Her eyes lite up and the gratitude as we exited was real.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

With only six months with FFEN, I retain true “Rookie” status compared to the core group of staff and volunteer whose knowledge I continue to draw from.