Volunteer Services Director Linda Smith Gives Heartfelt Goodbye
In 2013, I decided to retire from TCU after 25 years. I worked in various administrative positions including director of graduate programs administration at the Neeley School of Business. In this role I developed the orientation curriculum and schedules for incoming full-time students. Each year, the schedule included an afternoon of community service at Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB).
I had already met and formed a friendship with TAFB Executive Director Bo Soderbergh through my membership in the Rotary Club of Fort Worth. It was through our friendship that I developed an interest in the work and mission of TAFB. At that point, I determined I wanted to finish out my professional career by working for a local nonprofit about whose mission I felt strongly.
Bo and I met to discuss opportunities for me at TAFB. We continued to talk specifically about creating and developing the Volunteer Services department over a few months’ time. I didn’t know a lot about volunteer management per se, but I would jokingly suggest that I had plenty of experience “herding students and occasionally a few board members” during my tenure at TCU. I felt somewhat confident that my experience at TCU would serve me well.
On June 5, 2013, I stepped into the role of Volunteer Services director TAFB and began a four-year journey that was much more fulfilling than I ever imagined. From day one, I realized I had a lot to learn about the world of food banking. But my main focus was on learning as much about the volunteer function as quickly as I could so my staff of two and I could begin to formalize.
We made great strides toward reaching our goals during my time at TAFB. We were able to bring volunteer scheduling online and later, with the launch of the new TAFB website, streamline the scheduling process. This transition allowed Volunteer Services staff to spend more time on recruitment and retention of volunteers. Today, Volunteer Services maintains a database of more than 15,000 contacts.
My fondest memories that I will take with me are about the people I met over the last four years. Like Jim, a regular TAFB volunteer, who comes by bus every Tuesday and knows no stranger. Or Troy and Wanda who spend time at one of our Partner Agencies when they aren’t at TAFB. And Mark and Greg who know more about Quality Control than I ever will.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible staff with whom I have had the pleasure to work. They have taught me about the world of food banking, from uncovering new sources of food donations, to testing more efficient ways of processing millions of pounds of donated product, to developing better ways of distributing food to 13 counties. I am grateful for the opportunity to have spent the last four years working with individuals who are passionate about TAFB’s mission to feed those who are hungry.
Thank you Bo!!
Thank you TAFB!!