Sky Valley Food Bank’s new director can use more volunteers
Retired director Cindy Chessie and new director Matthew Campbell pose for a photo at the food bank’s main sign.
MONROE — The Sky Valley Food Bank has a new director who’s an experienced hand.
Matt Campbell took over for Cindy Chessie in May. He’s the food bank’s fifth director in its 46-year history.
Campbell lives 1.5 miles away, and brings 16 years of experience in working with food bank organizations. He jumped at the opening.
He comes as the food bank is expanding its footprint by about 1,200 square feet, and work starts soon.
One of Campbell’s main goals is seeing the expansion through. Another is restoring the volunteer base.
“Everything depends on our volunteers,” Chessie said, from moving food to shelves, packing produce, translating languages on-site to collecting food from grocery stores.
Volunteers are needed four days a week, and help is hard to come by. Retired seniors haven’t come back quite as much as before, though, food bank leaders said.
“We’re looking for folks who can be on their feet and lift 20 pounds” who see dignity in people, Campbell said.
Some volunteers come in in between work, and some teen volunteers come after school. COVID-19 remains a chilling effect on volunteering.
The expansion will double the shopping area for visitors and allows a greater selection of food. It will use grocery-store-style shelves. It also adds a much-needed lobby inside the food bank; no more waiting outside to enter and shop.
Expanding the shopping area will lessen how much food is shuttled to get on shelves.
After 30 years in policework, Chessie took over for Nell Watkins as the food bank’s director in 2017.
Early on, Chessie changed the food bank’s experience to have people select food versus receiving a box. She’s happy with the work she did preparing the expansion, “but I’m ready” to step aside after five years, she said.
Watkins was the retired chamber director who had a stint after taking over for Julie Morris, the daughter of founder Julia Morris.
Serving under COVID gave “no roadmap,” Chessie said, but “we never missed a week of service.”
To sign up to volunteer, fill out the form online at svfoodbank.org at its “Get Involved” page or print the volunteer form and bring it in to the food bank. For further help, call 360-794-7959.
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