“Although I’ve lived most of my life comfortably in the states, my early experiences with food insecurity as a child have always spoken to me.”
The Food Bank is fortunate to meet many of our community members through our volunteer program. Our volunteers serve in various capacities throughout our organization, and through these experiences, they learn about food insecurity and other valuable lessons. These volunteers then create a ripple effect not only in our communities but around the world.
Omar Khan is an excellent example of a volunteer who currently brings his talents to the Food Bank and then plans on using his volunteer experience in the future to lead a clinic in Pakistan. Omar first volunteered at the Hampden Distribution Center, packing food boxes. Then he was asked to assist with inventory management, where he focused on quality audits and streamlining the Food Bank’s DSI system. Working alongside Director of Operations Rob Vivenzio, Omar produced impressive results within weeks.
Rob shared, “I had the pleasure of meeting Omar back in late Spring, and I spent a few hours with him and his business knowledge and savviness was exactly what we needed at that time. I asked Omar to figure out a way to automate the quality control audit process so we can stop using paper. Within four weeks of this request, Omar had created an electronic quality control database that has pre-populated fields to eliminate data entry mistakes. The results of the audits can be pulled from the database and shared in real-time. Omar has been a pleasure to work with, and I am very hopeful that he will continue to volunteer at the Food Bank.”
Omar said he was initially excited to volunteer at the Food Bank for two reasons; the professional atmosphere, including how volunteers are managed during COVID, and his passion for food insecurity. “I grew up in Pakistan until I was five years old and would return there often, staying for three or more months. I would live in villages where food, water, and other necessary resources were scarce. Although I’ve lived most of my life comfortably in the states, my early experiences with food insecurity as a child have always spoken to me.”
While packing food boxes, Omar observed the strengths and challenges of the Food Bank’s operational system and with staff members. These observations were vital in creating the work he is currently doing with data analysis and system infrastructure improvements. He also saw that the Food Bank tried to maximize each volunteer’s contribution and enjoyment of the process, which is one of the reasons he really enjoyed his work. Omar hopes to couple his medical and business skills to succeed with the clinic he plans to open in Pakistan. He explains, “I think the bottom-up path is very enlightening for these ventures because understanding what drives someone is key to successful management.”
Volunteering at Good Shepherd Food Bank is one way to give back to local Maine communities. Your generous donation of time and talent makes an impact in the fight against hunger and allows us to fulfill our mission of providing food to food-insecure Maine families.
For more information on how to start volunteering at Good Shepherd Food Bank, please go here or call us at 207-782-3554.