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Poole College Staff, Faculty Volunteers Help Prepare Packages for NC Food Bank

Stefani Ashkinazy, Deborah Wilkins and Brian Peters in the midst of taking food from shipping containers and packing into smaller boxes for delivery to Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina clients.
Stefani Ashkinazy, Deborah Wilkins and Brian Peters in the midst of taking food from shipping containers and packing into smaller boxes for delivery to Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina clients.

For about three hours on Thursday, November 8, 21 members of the Poole College community helped The Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina advance its mission – that “No one goes hungry in Central & Eastern North Carolina”.

The Poole College volunteers were offered several options for their half-day of service, and chose what they later learned was the most popular – packing containers of rice, grits, pasta, beef stew and other food into boxes, each box providing ingredients for about about a week’s worth of meals for the receiving household. The group formed a fulfillment line that opened and pulled packaged food from large shipping containers and packed the food it into smaller boxes for distribution.

When finished, the team – including staff members and professors from two academic programs, two academic departments and two degree programs, and three teams within the Dean’s unit – had packed about 6,000 pounds of food into the boxes that would be distributed in the coming days.

Poole College Values in Action

“One of our college values is to make a ‘positive contribution to our global society’,” said Troy Pinkins, who initiated and co-coordinated the volunteer project for the college, along with Stefani Ashkinazy and Maria Potepalova.

Pinkins, who is director of the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative at Poole College and lecturer in the Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said he was motivated to coordinate the service project by the college’s values statement, which includes that point about “making a ‘positive contribution to our global society’.”

“I have the card (with the value statement) on my desk and over the past few months have really been thinking about what impact we have, not only in our global society but the local community,” he said. “It is from there that I decided to approach the college’s exec team to see if they would support a service activity for the entire college,” Pinkins said.

Poole College team members
Poole College team members Beverly Tyler, Susan Ebbs, Anya Reid and Jenny Champ at one of the work stations.

“Another reason I decided to organize this activity is that I know pretty much everyone in the college, but when talking to new employees, or even some who have been here for many years, it was astonishing that people didn’t know each other. There are so many commonalities and I think this was a great way to build community,” he said.

Brian Peters, an advisor in the college’s Office of Undergraduate Programs (OUP), was a member of the project’s planning committee.

“Within OUP, we have a group that is focused on team building,” Peters said. While his unit anticipates doing a service project of its own in December, he said, “I saw this as an opportunity to work with and get to know other staff members within the college that I don’t interact with often. I think it is great that the college is willing to let staff make a difference in our local community. As state employees, we have volunteer leave but I’ve had former positions where that was not encouraged.”

Anne Clark Hathaway, associate director of development and one of the newest members of the college staff, said she “decided to attend the community service event as it was fun to go, as a Poole College community, to help our larger community in NC.”

Her position on the fulfillment line was “box filler,” she said. “This meant that, working in an assembly line process, I placed food into the boxes as other members of the volunteer crew walked past me holding a box. I got to give everyone two cans of sweet potatoes. I always enjoy spending time giving back to the community in whatever way I can and it was more fun doing it with the Poole College team,” she said.

About the Food Bank of Eastern and Central North Carolina

Peters and Hathaway were among the volunteers who took up an offer from the Food Bank’s volunteer coordinator to tour its facility and see its operations after completing the packaging project.

“It was very impressive to see how they distribute foods to various non-profit and religious organizations in North Carolina, to support those in need,” Peters said.

Hathaway said, “The entire facility is huge and does amazing work distributing food to individuals that need it. Without a facility as large as it is, they would not be able to receive the large contributions they do from the Department of Agriculture, which is where the food we were packaging had been come from, or grocery stores,” she said. “There is also an entire area where local non-profits that distribute food can come and pick up the food they need,” Hathaway said.

Established in 1980, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that has provided food for people at risk of hunger in its 34-county service area for over 30 years. The Food Bank serves a network of more than 800 partner agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, and programs for children and adults through six branches in Durham, Greenville, New Bern, Raleigh, Sandhills (Southern Pines) and Wilmington. Learn more by visiting the Food Bank website.

The Poole College Service Project team at the Food Bank of North Carolina in Raleigh
The Poole College Service Project team at the Food Bank of North Carolina in Raleigh

This project was made possible by a number of Poole College staff and faculty, including the particular skills and talents of:

  • Stefani Ashkinazy
  • Kathy Ford
  • Emily Gower
  • Brian Peters
  • Troy Pinkins
  • Maria Potepalova
  • Anna Rzewnicki

To learn more about this service project, talk with others who participated (including the names listed above):

  • Department of Business Management: Tuesday Cross, Troy Pinkins
  • Development and External Relations: Alex Byrd, Anne Clark Hathaway, Scott Manning, Anya Reid
  • Department of Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Missy Milanu, Paul Mulvey, Beverly Tyler
  • Jenkins MBA Program: Stefani Ashkinazy, Jenny Champ, Susan Ebbs, Emily Gower, Deborah Wilkins
  • Office of the Dean: Yolanda Sanders, Kimberly Whitfield
  • Office of Undergraduate Programs: Devona Mazyck, Brian Peters, Terry Price and Whitney Upchurch
  • Poole College Marketing and Media: Anna Rzewnicki