By Beau Denton
How would you describe your job? Exciting, stimulating, unpredictable. You have to be comfortable wearing a lot of hats.
How is it unpredictable? One day I get a call from our operations director, who said, “I’ve got to go to Tampa to get 16,000 pounds of bananas, and we have to turn them around by tomorrow.” That’s not on our agenda, but he drives up there, and we get them out into the community by the next day.
What’s your perception of Sarasota since moving here in March? Sarasota is a tale of two cities. From the outside I’m drawn to the arts and beauty, but you only have to be here a little while to realize there’s another side—people in tremendous need who struggle to make sure their kids don’t go to bed hungry.
What’s your biggest challenge? We do not have enough food to meet the need. We work with 190 agencies and programs, and we’re not able to meet 100 percent of what they need.
Any stories that particularly touched your heart? Two weeks before Thanksgiving, we got a call from a man who had terminal cancer. We sent out more than 8,000 turkeys for Thanksgiving, but it did not look like he was going to survive until then. So we provided his entire Thanksgiving meal. Another one: A teacher asked her fifth-grade class, “What’s your favorite day of the week?” A boy said, “Friday, because that’s the day I take [Food Bank] backpacks [filled with food for weekend meals] home for me and my little sister.”
What are you looking forward to this year? We’re doing a study of the hunger relief programs here in Sarasota and DeSoto counties so we can share the need and the resources available with the community. I’m also excited about getting out into the community more. —BEAU DENTON