Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Feeding America Conference

Last week I travelled to Orlando, Florida to the 2009 Feeding America conference. There were roughly 700 people in attendance that rallied around a common theme of helping their community. This was absolutely re-energizing for everyone who attended because it was easy to see the impact made by all of these people nationwide. At the end of the conference they teamed up to fill 10,000 meal bags to prepare for the next disaster. Even David Arquette showed up to help. This example of teamwork is what makes this network so strong.

As you can imagine, the state of the economy was the number 1 issue addressed by the food banks. This served as an opportunity to frame Agency Express as a cost saving application. Agency Express helps the fight against hunger by allowing the food pantries that depend on Food Banks to order online. In turn, the tool saves food banks tremendous time allowing them to focus on relief work instead of paper work. I received verbal promises from 14 food banks that they would be signing up with Agency Express in the next 2 years. Half of these food banks I had already been reaching out to in the past.

Feeding America is in the planning phases of a large technology update project for all of their food banks called the Athena project. They are hoping to be able to enhance all technological operations for food banks nationwide. Online ordering will be a small part of this, but within the next 5 years the list of AE eligible food banks will increase from roughly 25 to over a 120. The future holds a lot of potential to expand the hunger programs even more.

Brad Watts, Texas Program Manager

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