Episode 304 - Managing Change through Strategic Communications

Elizabeth Garrabrant from the Mid-Ohio Food Collective shares how she’s engaging new types of volunteers in new ways to meet the needs of her community during the second year of the pandemic.

The Mid-Ohio Food Collective serves 20 counties in central and eastern Ohio. They run a foodbank as well as a community kitchen and market. They also operate a farm, and farmacy - providing healthy food options to ensure that community members stay healthy even while facing food insecurity.

During the pandemic the Mid-Ohio Food Collective saw the need in the community increase while their volunteers - especially their older adult volunteers - were sheltering in place, and companies were putting their employee volunteering activities on hold. When the National Guard became available to help with essential activities in the community Elizabeth put in a request - without much hope of receiving aid. Instead she found she had 100 dedicated National Guard members ready to help provide food and assistance to the community. She was able to get the Guard members successfully deployed by tapping into the experience and availability of her existing volunteers as trainers and leaders.

Throughout the initial transition period and into the ongoing pandemic Elizabeth has been able to safely bring volunteers back as well as stay connected with volunteers who prefer to work remotely by relying on open, honest, and transparent communication practices. She shares her successes as well as her challenges in balancing the needs of her organization and community, and the health and safety of her volunteers.       

Her organization is back to about two-thirds capacity and is looking forward to the future and continuing to bring back all of the ways volunteers help the meet their mission and the needs of the community.

For more information, visit https://mofc.org/volunteer/

You can find Elizabeth at egarrabrant@mofc.org or on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/egarrabrantcva/.

For More:

For more info on supporting and maintaining connections with diverse volunteers, check out Season 2 of the Time + Talent podcast, Episode 203: Dignity and Respect Extends to Volunteers, Too.

Guest Bio:

Elizabeth Garrabrant 
Director of Volunteer Services
Mid-Ohio Food Collective

Elizabeth Garrabrant has been with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective for 20 years.  In her current role, Elizabeth works with leaders throughout the organization to develop volunteerism strategies that will result in both positive and meaningful volunteer opportunities as well as meet the needs of the organization in the most efficient and effective way possible. 

She collaborates with local partners and events to bring a MOFC presence to the community.  Since her first years with MOFC, the volunteer program has grown significantly – from one project in one location- to now having MOFC volunteers assist with 35+ different activities in 15 different locations.

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