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Listen in: Meet Second Harvest’s new President and CEO Derrick Chubbs. This is his vision for the food bank in 2022.

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Photo: Derrick Chubbs

After a nationwide search, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has announced its newest CEO and President to replace outgoing leader Dave Krepcho. His name is Derrick Chubbs and he comes to the Orlando area from Central Texas Food Bank in Austin, Texas.

WMFE spoke with Chubbs about the challenges he expects the food bank will face in Central Florida in 2022.

Derrick: The time it’s going to take to recover from something that lasted for months is going to be extensive. I like to use the example of, if you remember, a few years ago, we had a government shutdown. And it lasted for around 35 to 40 days, something like that. And my point being is we saw a number of we held a distribution right here at the food bank. And I can’t tell you the amount of stories where, you know, people were here and said, “I never I’ve been working full time for 25 years, and I never, ever thought that I would have to come to you for food.” The challenge with that is that the recovery period for just those 35 to 40 days, was, was estimated to be around four months.

Now imagine what their recovery period is going to be for our friends and neighbors that have been out of work for a year.

Danielle: How will you do that with you know, I’m sure that you guys are facing burnout on your teams and don’t have enough volunteers and all these different things. So how do you plan on doing that in the coming year?

Derrick: Well, first of all, I’m thrilled that you would even ask that question, because so often, the team gets forgotten about. And I described it here in Austin, as a bit of a double-edged sword. On one side of it, we’re struggling with the challenges associated with the pandemic itself, and the hunger challenges that it created the cause of the pandemic. Then on the other side, we have employees that are a little anxious about this, that we have to work with, day in and day out. They too have their own challenges, their families, you know, family members that they’re having to take care of, or support, because they’ve, they’ve lost their jobs, the shifts from free and reduced lunch programs at school when their children have to stay home and eat at home as opposed to having access to that food. So it’s a brand new adjustment period that requires us to focus heavily, not only on our external constituents, or those we support, but also really hard on our team and our employees that are putting their health and safety on the line every single day.

Danielle: So what sort of new and different things do you want to kind of do, especially in this pandemic environment that might be influenced by your time in Austin?

Derrick: There are communities that we thought were in much better shape than it turns out that they actually are. The lack of services in our rural communities. And we had started some work here that I know Dave, and Dave and company have started there. And that’s something I would like to continue and continue to grow is how we support our our rural communities that don’t have access to access to services, because they’re not in Orlando proper.

And, and I would say, I would say finally, just trying to make sure that we’re focused heavily on our veteran community. We’re focused heavily on our diverse community. And we continue to, shall we say drive toward an equitable distribution model that ensures that no one is left behind.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »