Harvesters’ annual Partner Conference provides training, resources, and tools for the more than 760 nonprofit agencies, 300 schools, and 40 healthcare partners that are in the fight against hunger with us in the 26-county area of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas that we serve.

Join us for a virtual conference on Thursday, November 3 from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., to exchange ideas, enjoy engaging sessions, and celebrate the incredible work you’re doing in the community alongside your peers! At this year’s, conference, our focus will be on Embracing Change.

Virtual Conference Schedule
Thursday, November 3 from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

9 a.m. Opening – Stephen Davis, Harvesters President & CEO
Stephen Davis became President and CEO of Harvesters in July of 2022. He previously served as Chief Operating Officer of Harvesters for seven years. Prior to Harvesters, he worked nearly 11 years with the Blue Valley School District in Overland Park, Kansas. Stephen was the Director of Budget and Business Operations where he had leadership responsibility for eight departments.
Read more of Stephen’s Bio >

9:20 a.m. Morning Keynote – Desiree Dillon, Feeding America
Desiree is the Director of Partner Network Services at Feeding America and has a passion for building the capacity of non-profit organizations in underserved communities. As a thought leader and connector, Desiree empowers non-profit leaders to think strategically to achieve maximum mission impact. For 13 years, she served in a leadership capacity with Feeding America in both Mississippi and Texas as Director and Senior Manager of Partner Agency Relations with Mississippi Food Network and North Texas Food Bank.
Read more of Desiree’s Bio >

10:20 a.m. Break

10:25 a.m. Equity in Nutrition
Individuals who are food insecure are at an increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease compared to those who are food secure, according to research. Nutrition equity ensures that everyone has the opportunity to access nutritious and culturally appropriate foods to support a healthy lifestyle. Join us for a session about what causes nutrition inequity and the actions you can take toward supporting nutrition equity for the neighbors you serve.  

11 a.m. Benefits of Serving Differently
The basic premise of the neighbor choice food pantry model is to allow individuals seeking food assistance to choose for themselves what products they receive. Neighbor choice pantries are very space flexible and are a flexible structure that allows them to accept a wide array of products to offer neighbors, rather than trying to always keep the same exact few things in stock. This pantry model is a critical part of a community’s efforts to end hunger – having the opportunity to choose their own food gives neighbors a sense of dignity and control, limits waste and allows them to tailor the help they receive to be the best possible fit for their own unique situation.

11:35 a.m. Break

11:40 a.m. Technology Panel

Feeding people is too important to stay the same. Learn about technologies our partners in the network are using to help serve families better.

  • OrderAhead: a platform which allows our neighbors to order food from a pantry and pick it up at a convenient time or location. Hear from JFS on how they piloted this program to maintain neighbor choice and increase the number of families being served. 
  • Service Insights on MealConnect: What does it look like when an entire community uses the same tool to collect data electronically and view it in real-time? See the power of this tool in getting to know the neighbors we serve.

These tools are not widely available today, but we would love to hear your feedback on how they could be useful to you as we roll them out in the future.

12:15 p.m. Closing – Monic J. Houpe, Harvesters Chief Operating Officer
Monic J. Houpe joined Harvesters in August 2021. She first served as Director of Agency Partnerships and Capacity and was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2022. Monic oversees the operational, agency, and programmatic activities of the organization including the areas of Community Impact (which includes Agency Partnerships), Operations, and Quality Assurance.
Read more of Monic’s Bio >