Transforming the Food Bank’s Operations

Jack and Al discussing the Food Bank's operations

Food Bank Director of Operations Jack Russell (right) with warehouse worker Al Daluz. 

Jack Russell, of Raynham, Mass. is the new Director of Operations at the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

As Director of Operations, Jack manages the movement of food through the Food Bank from its acquisition to its delivery to food pantries and agencies across the state – the main focus of the Food Bank’s work.

Last year, the RI Community Food Bank distributed 9.2 million pounds of food to 160 member agencies that served 59,000 people per month.

Operations worker in warehouseAs food comes in, Jack coordinates how it’s stored in the warehouse and ensures that it’s properly received into inventory and made available in the online system used for ordering so that the Food Bank’s member agencies can easily request food for their shelves.

Jack oversees how those orders are readied for pick-up or delivery, and then finally shipped out to the agencies. His duties also include getting unexpectedly large quantities of donations, sometimes unexpected and sometimes highly perishable, that need to be moved quickly out to agencies and dealing with issues that agencies might be seeing in the Food Bank’s operations.

Despite having just completed his first month of work, Jack is already tackling ways to make the Food Bank run more efficiently.

By tracking how the warehouse staff picks orders, Jack and the staff are working to rearrange how items are stored so that orders can be picked in an easy fluid path from the start of the racked storage aisles to the loading area with little to no backtracking. This planning can reduce the steps taken by anywhere from 13% to 40%.

Given that picking a single order can require walking over a quarter mile, Jack’s work might save his staff literally miles of work. That means food can go through the Food Bank and out to member agencies and those who depend on it faster.

Married with two kids, Jack has five years of experience in a similar capacity at the Greater Boston Food Bank; prior to that he worked for TJX Companies’ AJWright division.