For 30+ years, Bob has been a member of Feeding America West Michigan’s board of directors. To honor term limits, Bob has been off the board once, but was asked back. Now, he serves as one of the food bank’s main sources of institutional knowledge.
In 2020, the food bank distributed 27.3 million pounds of food across our service area. Back in 1988, when Bob first joined the food bank’s board, he remembers reaching 3 million pounds in one year — “I have a clear recollection of thinking that was a very big deal,” he said.
Bob has witnessed many of the food bank’s milestone moments. For one, he recalls talking to former Executive Director John Arnold the day he first had the idea for Mobile Food Pantries. John had seen beer trucks driving down the road and realized how perfect they would be for distributing food to neighbors in need. Conveniently, a local beer brand was changing over many of their trucks, so plenty were on the market.
Over the years, Bob also played a role in many milestones. His financial skillset helped secure both our current Comstock Park warehouse and our location prior to that — some of his proudest moments serving on the board.
Bob has seen the food bank’s low-points as well. When reminiscing about the food bank’s first decades, Bob said:
“I could remember three or four years when it came to October and November that we were so low on money, that John unplugged the coke machine and turned off the lights. We were close to the wire so many years — it was unbelievable.”
For Bob, serving the food bank has always been about the mission.
“Ending hunger to me is creating an infrastructure that’s big enough to accommodate the number of people in need, even though they might be different people over time.”