John Rittenhouse just joined Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank as its Food and Clothing Bank Manager. Please join us in welcoming him to the food banking world, and learn more about his motivation for getting into the field, some experiences he’s had so far on the job, and his goals for the future.
Why did you decide to get into the non-profit field after years at Microsoft?
I serve on two non-profit boards (Together Center and Eastside Friends of Seniors) and have thought for a while that I wanted to do that kind of work full-time. Serving people has been a passion of mine for a long time and when this opportunity presented itself there was no question that I needed to jump on it.
What drew you to food banking in specific?
When I left Microsoft my first stop was to the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank to volunteer. IFCB has a strong group of committed volunteers who have served, in some cases, for decades. Working with them is a joy, and the IFCB staff makes the volunteer experience exceptional. This is a very well-run organization that has been a pleasure to join.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced so far in your new role?
Well, I've only been here for a week, so everything is a challenge, in a good way. But everyone has a "can-do, let's get it done" attitude, so there isn't anything so far that the staff and volunteers haven't been able to solve with a minimum of fuss.
What’s the most rewarding experience you’ve had so far in your new role?
Every day is a series of rewarding experiences. The IFCB mission of providing basic needs to promote self-sufficiency is so compelling that everything we do feels like a victory.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next year?
I hope to understand enough about the operations of the Food and Clothing Bank to free up additional staff time for critical program and community work, and to see if there are other efficiencies that can be found to maximize the utility of our limited space.
Any favorite food(s) to distribute to clients?
I like to see clients taking food that they can use to prepare home cooked meals. When I hear requests for baking supplies, cooking oil, dried beans, fresh produce and other healthy items, it suggests good, hearty meals prepared with love.
Interested in getting in touch with John? Email AgencyRelations@FoodLifeline.org and we’ll make the connection.