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ConnectVA Spotlight: Suzy Rohler, FeedMore

Suzy Rohler cva spotlight

“Through our comprehensive programs and network of more than 300 partner agencies, we are able to extend a helping hand to the close to 200,000 food-insecure individuals throughout Central Virginia.”

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Suzy Rohler and I’m the Director of Marketing and Communications for FeedMore, our area’s core hunger-relief organization.  I’ve had the privilege of working with FeedMore for a year and a half and absolutely love working with such an impactful, mission-driven and innovative organization.

What is the focus of your work?

We are dedicated to providing our region’s most vulnerable populations with one of the most basic necessities, nourishment.

Hunger is a real and serious issue throughout our community and with a service area that extends nearly one third of the state of Virginia, there is a lot of need.  Through our comprehensive programs and network of more than 300 partner agencies, we are able to extend a helping hand to the close to 200,000 food-insecure individuals throughout Central Virginia.  Dedicated to helping the children, families and seniors in our community who struggle with food insecurity, our programs aim to nourish and empower those when they need it most.    From our Meals on Wheels program which provides nutritious, cooked-from-scratch meals to homebound seniors and disabled neighbors to our afterschool Kids Cafe, weekend BackPack and Summer Food Service programs that help ensure kids have the nourishment they need to learn and grow to our Mobile Pantry program and Partner Agency Network that allow FeedMore to reach more in need in the communities where they live, we are dedicated to fighting hunger in our community.

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A major effort to ensure that thousands of children at risk of hunger receive healthy and reliable breakfast and lunch meals, free of charge, when school is not in session, FeedMore’s Summer Food Service Program will be providing meals at more than 35 sites throughout greater Richmond and the Tri-cities.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Our mission is the core of what drives all of the 100 employees, and 250 daily volunteers, at FeedMore.  Connecting the hard work we do back to the impact it has in our own community is truly tangible and part of the “magic” we experience every day.

There’s nothing better than being able to see the how your work has helped others and in some special cases, learn of our impact first-hand directly from one of our recipients!  Additionally, the people I’m lucky to call colleagues at FeedMore are far and beyond the best in the business and it’s each of them who make coming to work each day a wonderful experience.

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Meals On Wheels volunteers deliver “made from scratch” meals every weekday to home bound seniors. The program has been in existence since 1967 and delivered nearly 300,000 meals last year to 1532 individuals.

What are some major challenges you have faced and how you handled them? 

Educating our entire community on the depth and breadth of our organization is one of the main challenges we’re focused on this year.

With more than 300 partner agencies, we offer programs like traditional food banks and also many other services and diverse programs that help ensure we provide comprehensive hunger relief.   And with so many different moving parts, it can be challenging to clearly convey to the public all that we are, all that we do and our far-reaching impact.

While Meals on Wheels and the Central Virginia Food Bank formally merged in July of 2008 to form FeedMore, there are still many people in the community that don’t truly know FeedMore.  FeedMore moves 18.6 million meals through our 84,000 square-foot facility each year.  We’ve become very sophisticated logistically and it’s important that our community knows the tremendous impact we have.  We’re working on enhancing our communications strategy to help shift that brand awareness.

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“FeedMore moves 18.6 million meals through our 84,000 square-foot facility each year. We’ve become very sophisticated logistically and it’s important that our community knows the tremendous impact we have.”

What’s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

At my core, I’m a nerd.  I love all things data and working within a data-driven organization is so very exciting!  Our organization recently upgraded our ERP and is undergoing a psychographic segmentation study of our supporters to drive more effective and targeted communications.  FeedMore really embraces leveraging data to be able to serve more within our community, which makes my “inner nerd” really excited for the future of our organization.

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission?

We have loved the networking and learning opportunities available within the ConnectVA community.  Our Marketing and Communications team recently participated in the Social Media for Non-profits Conference and loved hearing from area organizations!  When looking for great talent to recruit in our area, ConnectVA has always been a great resource.  Some of employees have described their time in the Emerging Non-profit Leaders Program as “life-changing.” We really value the partnership we enjoy with ConnectVA.

Anything else you would like to share?

Our organization could not exist without the support of our community and our volunteers.  With over 20,000 donors annually and an average of 250 volunteers a day, they are why FeedMore is successful.  Recently certified as a Service Enterprise by Points of Light Foundation, FeedMore is well positioned to engage volunteers to more effectively and efficiently deliver on our mission of fighting hunger in Central Virginia.

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Every day FeedMore engages and works with an average of 250 volunteers – they were recently designated as a “Service Enterprise” by Points of Light.

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