What’s a Non-Profit To Do? Part 2 - Service Organizations
In Part 1 of this series, I took a look at how non-profit performing arts organizations were dealing with the pandemic, and the creative ideas they have used to keep moving forward. In Part 2, I wanted to take a look at two service organizations.
The Food Basket - Hawaii Island’s Food Bank has seen a dramatic rise in the need for their services. With so many people unable to work due to business closings, layoffs, and furloughs, the amount of food distributed to those in need has skyrocketed. In a single month they now distribute more food than they normally would in six months. On top of that, most of the food pantries they would normally supply this food to have closed (temporarily), so now they must distribute directly to those in need. And WOW have they delivered. This video shows an ‘Ohana Food Drop, happening across the island two, three and sometimes four days a week. With the help of the County of Hawaii, The National Guard, and local staff and volunteers, these food drops have become a well oiled machine.
In addition to the food drops for those in need, the Food Basket also has a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, Da Box. Subscriptions to Da Box have also nearly doubled, as even those with the means to buy food are having a hard time finding everything they need in supermarkets.
The BEST part of their whole operation is that ALL of this food comes from LOCAL farmers, ranchers and suppliers. Both the food purchased for the ‘Ohana Food Drops as well as the CSA programs support the local food industry and economy. The Food Basket is even working with restaurants to prepare and freeze meals for those in need…but more on that later. With a long term goal of creating food sustainability for the island, the Food Basket is using the lessons and opportunities handed to them by the pandemic to make positive change.
The Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce has a small but mighty staff of two, and an army of volunteers on the board and committees. Their purpose is to serve the businesses of the island, and while that didn’t change during the pandemic, the needs of their members and the way they executed it sure did.
When the pandemic hit, numerous Chamber events were cancelled, from small meetings to a major fundraising dinner. They took the initiative to create a Covid 19 page on the website, and updated it daily with news from the County and State, as well as lists of businesses that were still open. The staff learned about new technology and shared that with members in need. Email communication increased, and social media became key. They have even deferred some membership dues so business can take care of themselves first. That’s true Aloha.
Eventually meetings resumed, or should I say, reZoomed, and members were able to connect again. While in person events are still likely a ways away, the HICC has continued to offer member events in the form of webinars, and even an online cooking class! I’m told a virtual After Hours event is in the planning stages, and may even feature a virtual wine tasting. I don’t know how to download a bottle, but I’m game to try!
We all need to change the way we do business. Things are different now, but that doesn’t have to be a negative. Change presents opportunities for growth, and these two non-profit organizations have adapted well. Both are poised to make positive changes for themselves AND our community that will help them succeed in the long term.
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