The Food Bank of South Central Michigan's new Executive Director remembers exactly when he started his new job.   Peter Vogel says it was just as the polar vortex sent arctic cold temps into Michigan.   Vogel stopped by the 95.3 WBCK Morning Show with Tim Collins.

"It was sort of a nice welcome to Michigan, I guess", says Vogel.  Vogel came from Reno, Nevada, but says the weather wasn't too big of a shock, since he hails from Nebraska.

Vogel served the Reno community for about nine years as Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.  He says he took over for a small organization that wasn't very well known in Reno, and built it up to be pretty large.  "We ended up providing services for every county in the state except one.  I took over an agency that had a $2.1 million dollar budget and when I left it was a little more than $15 million," says Vogel. 

Vogel says that in addition to expanding services in Reno, he helped create partnerships with other agencies, and increased the visibility of the organization there. "Our reality is that we (non-profits) spend so much time doing the blocking and tackling  of what a non-profit needs to do, that sometimes we forget to look up and educate people."  

Vogel says his previous work for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada involved building up food programs, which parallel work done by the Food Bank.   "We had a dining room that served 600 meals a day, and we ran a food pantry that was the largest in the state and served about 11,000 people and distributed food to 110 locations state-wide."

Vogul says food is a pretty central issue with many non-profits.  "Food is really sort of that core thing, when you're dealing with people who are struggling or having challenges."   He says the first place people who are struggling go is often a food pantry or kitchen, and that it presents a good opportunity to assess what other types of help someone might need.  "That's what I think we're really going to try to do with the Food Bank here---not to be everything, we're just a player in the cog.  But  it seems like there are some really great not-for-profits here in the Battle Creek area, and really engaged and really collaborative, which isn't common everywhere I've been.  I'm really looking forward to the Food Bank jumping in and being a really active partner to that whole process of helping those that are struggling."

Vogel says they're going to take a good look at some of their events.  "The ones that really engage the community, we're going to keep doing. The ones that are maybe a little bit older and stagnant, we're going to try and find something a bit more interesting to do."

Vogel says he reached out to retired long time Food Bank director Bob Randels on his second day in town.  He says they went out to lunch and had a great conversation and got a lot of great insight.

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