Mission Statement: Leading the effort to eliminate hunger in our community.
Since 1981, the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, a member of Feeding America™ and the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, has been providing food for people experiencing food insecurity throughout Southeastern Virginia and on the Eastern Shore.
Our Vision: A Hunger-Free Community.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Revamping our Values
Diversity, equity and inclusion — we’ve heard a lot about these ideals in the past year as racial tension and social unrest has impacted our nation and our community. Businesses and organizations have committed to incorporate these values in their work cultures and to view situations and transactions through a DEI lens. What does this look like for the Foodbank? We have modified our diversity statement to focus more intently on inclusion:
Diversity Statement: We believe that the ethnic, cultural, and social diversity of our service area should be reflected in our staff, board of directors and volunteers in a manner that promotes inclusion and a sense of belonging.
Moving beyond surface-level categorizations such as ethnicity, age and gender, we embrace diversity of thought and perspective that comes from lived experience of people from different backgrounds. Aspects like shared values and life experiences have a meaningful place for our DEI efforts in that our team can connect with the diverse communities we serve based on commonalities beyond social categorizations.
When using an equity lens to view our evolving work, we can focus on communities of color that have disproportionate access to healthy food, healthcare and employment offering a living wage. The rise of food insecurity rates in our community because of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacts predominantly African-American localities, as well as Latino populations on the Eastern Shore, both of which were already challenged with issues such as low income and lack of access to transportation. By providing services through an equity lens, we level the playing field for our most vulnerable neighbors.
Inclusion requires a reexamination of workplace culture and encouragement of healthy conversations around race. The Foodbank has established a DEI taskforce, which is now a permanent committee, to evaluate the organization’s practices and policies and put forth recommendations that inspire a more diverse, equitable and inclusive environment. We have also revamped our values to concentrate more on equity:
Quality: We are committed to excellence in services, products and operation.
People: We will treat all people with respect, dignity and courtesy. We will work to provide an inclusive culture in which all can work and learn together.
Stewardship: We will use our resources wisely, with accountability to the public and concern for the environment. Integrity: We will be honest and fair in our dealings with others.
Collaboration: We are appreciative of our community partners, donors, volunteers and employees for their commitment and support.
Equity: We will encourage increased access to resources and opportunities that people or communities need to reach their full potential