After 18 years, Tom Slater is leaving the top post at the Food Bank of Central New York.
He is stepping down, but not away, at least right away. Slater will be working (from home, mostly) on setting up food disaster preparedness plans for the Food Bank.
He's seen major changes in they types of foods, and their origins, over the years. Food banks mostly started as distributors for surplus Federal dairy products and grains. Now, there's an effort to get local foods and local contributions for the eleven county distribution net, which handles 13 million pounds of food--that's about 11 million meals--yearly.
The peak for demand was in 2008, during the recession, when requests for help were up 12%. Now, Slater says, demand has evened off, with about half the direct providers seeing increases, but the other half seeing decreases.
As he leaves, Tom Slater says he's greatful for the generosity of Central New Yorkers, who've raised money and donated to help needy neighbors.
And, the Food Bank is also working to integrate its clients into a supportive network. "This is an everyday battle," he says. But, if there's food, the next steps can be taken more easily, to make more of our neighbors self-sufficient.