‘This is a momentous time for AIO.’

AIO Food Pantry hires first paid employee in 30 year history

Sat, 01/04/2020 - 1:15pm

Story Location:
AIO Food Pantry
Rockland  Maine
United States

ROCKLAND — The Board of Trustees for AIO Food Pantry, serving Knox County and located in Rockland, has hired Eola Ball to serve as AIO’s part-time pantry director. This is AIO’s first employee after 30 years of being a volunteer run organization.

For the last year, Ball has volunteered with AIO in many ways: in the back room, as a client shopper, as a substitute day manager and as a client survey person for the backpack program. For the last three months, she has worked on redesigning the AIO Energy Assistance Voucher program which involved communicating the program changes to clients, rolling out a new online scheduling system, training 10 volunteers who work directly with clients, calling vendors, and completing the paper work for the program.  

As pantry director, Ball will be responsible for making sure always has optimal levels of food inventory for every family who visits, improving food pantry operations by creating consistency across the shifts, supporting food pantry volunteers and managing AIO’s relationship with the Good Shepherd Food Bank. 

Ball will also work closely with the new building committee getting AIO ready to move into the new food pantry. A capital campaign is underway to raise the necessary funds for the new food pantry building with the goal of opening in summer 2020.

“This is a momentous time for AIO,” said Liz Jenkins, AIO Board Chair. “We are delighted to have Eola join the AIO team. Her enthusiasm, engagement, organizational abilities and commitment to community will be a great addition to AIO. Having a dedicated staff person to oversee the pantry will offer a consistent presence at the Food Pantry, helping AIO to better serve our clients. The Board recognized that we had reached a point where we can have an even greater impact by having someone dedicated to the running of the pantry. We are excited for this next chapter to begin. I hope that everyone will take a moment to welcome Eola when you meet her.”

Last fiscal year, the AIO Food Pantry served 4,265 families, nearly 11,000 individuals. 

“We are consistently seeing over 300 families per month,”said AIO. “We all aspire to see the day when we have a hunger-free community, but until that day, AIO is committed to ensuring that we are a consistent resource for those who count on us when they need support. “

Reached while sharing some snow fun with her daughter and family, Ball said “I am so excited about the future of AIO. It is a great opportunity to look at all of the pantry operations to see how we can improve client services. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the food pantry, so training and support is vital. The new pantry building will give us much more space and will allow us to better serve the people of Knox County. I hope that the AIO community will rally around AIO and support our efforts to raise the funds to make a summer 2020 opening a reality. I look forward to working with our volunteers, partners, funders and clients for an expanded and
vibrant food pantry.”

Ball can be contacted via email at pantrydirector@aiofoodpantry.org or by phone at 207-596-1043. 

For questions or information about AIO, its programs or campaign, contact Liz Jenkins at email@aiofoodpantry.org.