Thurston County Food Bank
PMI Olympia Chapter is excited to welcome Robert Coit to our December dinner meeting to share with us his experience as Executive Director and achievements of Thurston County Food Bank.
It is the mission of the Thurston County Food Bank to eliminate hunger within our community. The Thurston County Food Bank is governed by a Board of Directors, all community members. Our service area includes the urban core of Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, their surrounding growth areas and under-served parts of Thurston County. To reduce access barriers, the Thurston County Food Bank, in collaboration with community partners, operates fifteen satellite Food Banks.
We also operate mobile food banks at nine low income neighborhoods, primarily mobile home parks and apartment complexes. In partnerships with four school districts we distribute weekend food bags at thirty one elementary schools and one Head Start Program. The school programs target homeless children. To promote childhood nutrition, the Food Bank currently supports three school gardens. Our main location in downtown Olympia provides food using the client choice model which allows families to choose the food they want instead of receiving a pre-made bag.
The Thurston County Food Bank works with the rural food banks in Rochester, Tenino and Yelm. Collaborations include acting as the lead agency for the Emergency Food Assistance Program, accessing food through Food Lifeline and Northwest Harvest, as well as providing food and technical support to some smaller rural operations.
Robert Coit is the Executive Director of the Thurston County Food Bank. He has held the position for ten years. He is responsible for overseeing program evaluation activities of four programs conducted by his agency. This includes assisting in with a statewide e-scan tool of Food Pantries that evaluates the Department of Health's policy of increasing consumption of nutritious foods. He is also responsible for evaluating the agency's success in accomplishing the objectives of its strategic plan.
For eighteen years he has worked to end the negative impacts of hunger. While working for the Community Action Council, he managed the Senior Nutrition Program for Mason and Thurston Counties, responsible for measuring the impact of various Nutrition Education Programs as well as the program evaluation and contract compliance for the Senior Nutrition program. He left his position there as the Deputy Director for Senior Services to work for the Food Bank.
- Past member of the Olympia Rotary
- Past president of the Waterfront Kiwanis Club,
- Past Treasurer of South Sound Partners in Philanthropy,
- Past Chair and current member of the Washington Food Coalition,
- Citizens Advisory Committee Port of Olympia,
- Board of Director (Treasurer) of South Sound Reading Foundation,
- Chair of DSHS Portal Project Advisory Committee,
- Chair of WSDA Food Assistance Program Advisory Committee and
- Serves as a fire commissioner for Fire Protection District Five (Black Lake).
Robert is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Liberal Arts Degree in Germanics. He is the father of two children (Elizabeth 23 and Kyle 17). He also collects Hungarian coins and loves to fly fish.
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