FIND Food Bank CEO Moving To New Role at Desert Healthcare District
It is with both sadness and pride that FIND Food Bank’s Board of Directors announce the resignation of long-time President and CEO, Lisa Houston. Ms. Houston held this position for eight years, joining
the FIND team in Nov. 2009. She will be joining the leadership team of the Desert Healthcare District and Foundation as their Chief Operating Officer, effective Jan. 3, 2018.
“The FIND Board of Directors is very excited about Ms. Houston’s new endeavor with the Desert Healthcare District, as it will continue her good work addressing not only food insecurity, but the overall importance of individual and community health. We know she will always have a special place in her heart for FIND and we will always have a special love for her and her passion to help others,” said FIND Board Chair Deborah McGarrey.
“The decision to move to the next phase of my service career has included a great deal of personal reflection.
I am so very proud of our food bank, our dedicated staff and board, and the thousands of volunteers and donors across the Coachella Valley and beyond that make FIND’s work possible each and every day,” said
Ms. Houston. “It is this pride that gives me the confidence to embrace this extremely difficult decision and move forward in a new role with the Desert Healthcare District.”
During Ms. Houston’s tenure as CEO, FIND has grown in unprecedented ways, moving to their current, 36,000-sq-ft office and warehouse space in Indio, more than doubling the amount of food assistance distributed by their local network each year, and adding programs that help food-insecure clients find additional resources to fight food insecurity. In 2016, FIND’s regional network distributed 10+ million pounds of food, more than half as fresh fruits and vegetables. A consistent average of 85,000 people access some form of food assistance each month across the Coachella Valley.
“It is incredibly important to me that I leave FIND in a position of strength, and in that regard, I truly believe the food bank has never been stronger. We have an extraordinarily capable and experienced management team, an amazing staff, and a solid and knowledgeable Board. FIND Food Bank is in good financial health, we have processes and continuation plans in place, and we have a dynamic strategic plan to guide the food bank’s long-term vision,” said Ms. Houston.
Today more people rely on FIND Food Bank’s network for food than they did at the height of the recession, and that number continues to rise. It’s what we call the hunger paradox — as the economy grows, so too, does the number of people who need food. That’s because hunger is not a stand-alone issue; instead, it is just one element of a complex web of disadvantages that so many Coachella Valley residents face. “It’s that larger web of disadvantage that has the greatest negative impact on community health and well-being,” said Mrs. Houston.
“It is this understanding that drives me to take on this new challenge with the Desert Healthcare District and embrace the opportunity to serve an even larger population, including those experiencing food insecurity amidst a host of other challenges,” she continued.
No matter who is at the helm of FIND, ending hunger is a team endeavor — one of FIND’s mantras is that hunger is a community problem with a community solution. “Fighting hunger requires the entire community to get involved, and our donors and volunteers have been with FIND at every turn, going back to our early years of neighbors helping neighbors. Nothing has changed — our mission is bigger than any single person. FIND still needs your help and will continue to serve communities large and small across the Valley,” said Ms. Houston.
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About FIND Food Bank:
FIND Food Bank, founded in 1983, is the regional food bank serving eastern Riverside County, from Cabazon to Blythe, from the high desert to the Salton Sea. FIND (Food In Need of Distribution) is dedicated to relieving hunger, the causes of hunger, and problems associated with hunger by building awareness and mobilizing resources and community to take action to end hunger. Our network of community-based partners distributes 10+ million pounds of food assistance annually to an average 85,000+ people each month across our service area. FIND is a member of Feeding America and the California Association of Food Banks. To learn more about how you can help, please call FIND Food Bank at 760-775-3663 or visit FINDFoodBank.org.