Alameda Food Bank director moves on
The Alameda Food Bank’s executive director, Paul Russell, is moving on to a new position after six years on the job. Russell is credited with helping to grow the food bank’s service capacity at a time when the need for its services has exploded.
“We’ll miss him. He’s a great guy and he’s done a good job in the six years he’s been here,” said Neil Rubenstein, president of the food bank’s board.
Russell came to the Alameda Food Bank in the spring of 2005 after working for eight years at outdoors retailer REI. While at REI, Russell said he had started volunteering at a soup kitchen.
“Over time, that direct service became more enjoyable than going to work,” Russell said. He said the food bank job offered a perfect “bridge” between the for-profit and non-profit skills he had earned in prior postings.
Rubenstein credited Russell with having increased the size of the Alameda Food Bank’s operation at a time when the need for its services grew by more than 50 percent. He said Russell helped bring more volunteers into the fold, bolstered communication with other nonprofits and the community at large and set up systems that could handle the growing need for the food bank’s services.
“Paul played a major role in making that happen,” Rubenstein said. “We are a much stronger organization now than we were five years ago.”
Russell thanked the food bank’s volunteers for helping it to grow its offerings in the face of a dramatic increase in need. When he began at the food bank in 2005, it served around 3,000 local patrons each year; it now serves 5,600 Island residents, with much of the growth having taken place over the last two years.
He also thanked the community for their support.
Russell is moving on to a new job with Hand in Hand Parenting, a Palo Alto nonprofit. His last day at the food bank is March 11.
“This has been an absolutely wonderful six years. I have been blessed to have been welcomed by the entire community,” Russell said. “It has been more than a job, and I have tried to treat it as such.”
Rubenstein said the food bank’s operations will continue unabated and that none of its food distribution programs will be affected by Russell’s departure. The food bank operates out of trailer on Thau Way and a warehouse at Alameda Point.
The board is actively seeking a new executive director; information on the position is available on its website. Applications will only be accepted by e-mail, at firstname.lastname@example.org.