Receive news via email
Thank you to everyone who attended our agency conferences in Kansas City and Topeka! We had two informative and engaging days that included educational sessions, resources, and networking.
We know some of you didn’t have the chance to attend, and others wanted to attend more than the three sessions you were able to, so here are some highlights from the conference. PDFs of the presentations are located to the right
This session provided tips to enhance your experience with Harvesters’ online ordering system. To safeguard order integrity, please be cautious about moving your order date out because this may affect the expiration date on a product.
In addition, be careful when opening and editing an order multiple times because this may cause communication issues with Harvesters’ internal inventory application. Before submitting your order, be sure all product is added and then verify in order management that all items requested were acknowledged. Order issues may still occur, but Harvesters’ team is constantly working to provide solutions.
Advocating for federal nutrition programs, particularly SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) is important. SNAP funding is authorized through the Farm Bill, which is moving through Congress right now. Agencies are encouraged to contact lawmakers and stop cuts and structural changes to this important program.
Volunteer engagement is about the volunteer experience. When creating a volunteer opportunity, you need to make sure you have the agency structure in place to support your volunteers. In addition, think about all the potential places you can recruit volunteers. When your volunteers arrive, what kind of orientation do you provide and what kind of ongoing training do you offer volunteers? Finally, recordkeeping is important to report out results of your awesome volunteers. Not only does it support a case for volunteer program funding, but it can be helpful in applying for grant funding for your agency.
Hunger is a health issue. Consistent access to healthy food can help manage chronic illnesses, or perhaps prevent them altogether. Harvesters is pursuing innovative partnerships and strategic approaches in the community as we work at the intersection of hunger and health. This presentation discussed why Harvesters is shifting program models to focus more on overall health and client stability (beyond only emergency food assistance). Agencies heard how they can partner with healthcare settings and professionals, as well as other community stakeholders such as the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association.
It’s important to store and transport produce safely. This presentation discussed what you need to know about mold or redistribution and offered good tips (how to help educate guests on what items are, what is still edible although maybe not pretty, like brown bananas). Want to learn more? Harvesters has a Produce Safety webinar on the Resource Section of the agency website that has the complete discussion with some examples from pantries in our network.
The Agency Handbook is a tool the Agency Services team utilizes to ensure partners are operating within outlined guidelines. It’s a great resource for agencies to answer questions concerning compliance, legality, safety and processes. The Agency Handbook not only guides agency partners but also holds Harvesters accountable to the same consistent guidelines as well.
Agency monitoring visits are an opportunity for increased communication and positive interaction for both Harvesters staff and the agency partner. If the agency is not prepared, the visit can feel overwhelming and frustrating. The keys to a positive visit are advanced preparation, an open mind and attention to detail.
This session addressed how to determine if you qualify for a grant, where to look for grant opportunities and what information you need to have as you write a grant application. Common items needed are a strong case statement and a list of possible outcomes from the grant. Common documents organizations need in grant writing include a list of board of directors, IRS determination letter, audit/financial statements, letters of support, and an organization/project budget.
Nutrition nudges are subtle ways to encourage people to choose more healthy items from your agency. These low effort, high impact modifications to your environment can literally change what people choose without you saying a word! Nutrition nudges, factors like colors, signage, and placement all influence our choices, can help you set up your site to encourage healthy behaviors so that everyone can receive health benefits.
Annual Giving is not a single campaign or appeal but a diverse and strategic plan to raise funds all year long. While Annual Giving has many different channels and possibilities, this presentation focused on a few tactics including Monthly Giving, Online Giving and Direct Mail. It was recommended that participants who had no Annual Giving plan choose one channel to develop and launch over the next year; those with established Annual Giving plans should choose a channel to improve upon and strengthen over the next year.
Generational poverty is different than situational poverty. Generational poverty is being in poverty for two generations or longer; situational poverty is shorter in length of time and is caused by circumstances such as death, illness, divorce, job loss, etc. Those in generational poverty generally are missing links in cognitive thinking, are unable to think abstractly, lack emotional control, misuse financial resources, lack organizational skills, have limited language skills and may have addiction issues.
The session started with the number of food insecure children in both Kansas and Missouri including an overview on the indicators of chronic hunger in children, and the challenges that chronically hungry children face. The basics of the Kids Cafe, BackSnack, and School Pantry programs were discussed and the team shared the meal distribution numbers for the 2017-2018 school year.
Programs 101 explained the different programs available through Harvesters including government assistance programs (TEFAP, CSFP and SNAP), mobiles and senior mobile distributions, Milk2MyPlate, and nutrition services.
Harvesters’ Nutrition Department can help an agency receive tailored consultation, specific to the agency’s health and nutrition needs. The Long Term Option will run from January – July 2019 and members of the Nutrition Department can come to an agency site weekly to consult. The Short Term Option will have three separate options to sign up: one in the fall, one in early 2019 and another in spring of 2019 – watch your email for information on how to apply.
Contact Customer Care at 816-929-3220 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special thanks to our partner, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City.