Several months ago GCC took over a local food pantry called KO-OP 65 ... now renamed to MC3 (Monroe Circle Community Center). Not that you particularly care about the name or really need to know the name...but hey, it's data. The center is open every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month from 8:30-11am and depending on what's currently in the inventory both food and personal items are distributed.
In efforts to track the folks and food coming/going someone had a brainstorm to try and use the Fellowship One event checkin module. Instead of checking a person into an event...why not check them "into" a food package? Now you have data on the folks coming to the center, what food/personal items they received, and it's tracking your food/personal items inventory...brilliant!
Detailed reports can be run to track new people...or if a "regular" attender has missed a team will attempt to contact the person and make sure they're OK...even take the items to their home.
Well, I'd never been to MC3 to see this in action until this Tuesday morning. The team that usually sets up the checkin PC's at MC3 were all going to be on vacation so I was going to fill in for them. I'm totally NOT a morning person so getting up at 6:30am was not easy :-)
Luckily I loaded up 2 checkin PC's with touchscreens and printers the night before...and arrived at the center I little before 8am.
Here's a shot of the outside of the center
I had everything all live by 8am ... they have a wireless DSL modem in the building using the same SSID and such as the church so our checkin PC's can roam back and forth with ease. "WiFi Tom" from my volunteer team setup the modem so I had no worries...plug-n-play...thanks Tom!
I helped at a few other food pantries in the past...this one kick their butts. The volunteers involved in this project were awesome. There was a greeter at the door to welcome people, a server offering fresh coffee and danishes (courtesy of Panera), and some floaters that would just sit down at the tables and chat with people.
After refreshments folks would come over to the check in stations and give their name, if not in the database they were directed to another volunteer who would help them register. The checkin persons would print out a tag indicating what food item(s) they would get...they would walk over to the distribution table and another volunteer would affix their tag to a food box. Another group of volunteers was ready to help deliver the goods to that persons car or apartment. Again, monster kudos to this team ... they pulled off a very inviting experience for the folks coming in ... showing them love and acceptance and value without any "religious" agenda ... oh baby, Jesus was there big time!
It was also neat to see the Fellowship One checkin app could be used in such an unusual way ... very clever guys ... way to think outside the "box" ;-)
UPDATER: Merri Dewinter, who runs point for MC3, says Tuesday we processed a record number of folks ... 195 of which 56 were new! She's also started up an MC3 blog ... check it out: http://monroecirclecommunitycenter.blogspot.com/