• Marcia Conwell

    Marcia Conwell
    President/CEO Bread of the Mighty Food Bank

    Describe your role as President/CEO of Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.

    As president and CEO of the food bank, I oversee the daily operations of the food bank. We have 20 plus employees at our warehouse facility. The food bank is responsible for getting food to our 165 plus agencies in five counties. A big part of the job is locating food and the logistics of getting the food to our warehouse and then out to the agencies that are helping us feed the hungry. We have several programs besides the agencies, (we are starting a new senior’s feeding program in six counties) and I am responsible to make sure that everything flows and gets done. 

    How did you come to work with the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank? Have you always wanted to work with non-profits? 

    I met an elderly couple who were running the food bank and decided to volunteer to help them out. After two weeks, I quit my job with benefits and started working at the food bank. I started by driving a pick-up truck and going out and picking up and delivering the donated food. Over the years, I’ve done pretty much every job from driving the truck to working in the warehouse to the job I have now. Working for a non-profit was never in the forefront of my mind, it was just where God placed me.

    Describe your leadership style. How do you lead and how do you tackle challenges?

    My leadership style is to stay focused on the immediate situation, hunger across Florida, and how we can all come together to shorten the food lines.

    What don’t most people realize about the hunger situation in Florida and in Gainesville?

    Most people don’t realize the hungry person is your neighbor, the nurse at your doctor’s office, your kids school teacher, the elderly … you can’t put a face on hunger. One in four children and one in five of the general population are food insecure.

    What do you think your strengths are and how did you identify them?

    My strengths are being a facilitator, which makes me good at diffusing situations, and my strength as a logistic-minded person helps me know how to move product within our state. I have compassion for the hurting people because I’ve been where they are

    How have your setbacks and weaknesses made you stronger?

    I was a single mother raising four children working full time and putting myself through school. My troubled past has helped me see other people’s worth and to be more compassionate to those going through hard times. I have become stronger and more determined to be an overcomer.

    The passion I have to help those who are hurting actually was brought to the forefront in 2014. It was part of my job to take bread and USDA food to different areas, and one time the bread delivery was late getting to us, so I decided to go without the bread and just take the USDA food. At one location where we delivered food there was one little, elderly lady who would pull a little red wagon that carried her oxygen tank. As she got her food, she asked where the bread was, and I had to tell her we didn’t have any bread this time. She started to cry and told me that the loaf of bread she got each month was put in the freezer, and each day she would take half of a slice for breakfast and lunch. Now she wouldn’t have breakfast and lunch until I came back next month with her bread. My eyes were opened to the hunger issue at that moment. Before that incident hunger didn’t really impact me. I immediately gave money to one of our drivers and had him purchase a loaf of bread for her. I’ve never looked at the hungry people in the same way since then.

    How do you define what it means to be a fierce woman?

    Every day brings new challenge, opportunities to overcome. I have a passion to do what I can to help those in our communities who are hurting.