Get to know one of our Operations Coordinators, Dara, in this Q&A.
I’ve been an Operations Coordinator for about six months (and before that I was a Food Rescue Coordinator for almost two years).
I tend to describe the Operations Coordinator role to my friends as taking care of any and all of the small details necessary for keeping our Food Rescue Coordinators (FRCs) and trucks on the road. We primarily do daily dispatching and triaging problems as they come up, but also play a role in managing requests or opportunities for new partnerships, training new drivers, tracking truck maintenance, and other administrative tasks as needed.
One of the reasons I wanted to take on this role was being able to take a “zoomed out” approach to problem-solving on the routes, looking for ways to move around partners (food vendors or nonprofit partners) in a way that helps better meet the needs of the folks we give food to.
I’ve been helping out a lot recently on our north of Boston route, called Dolly. This was one of the routes I originally trained on when I was an FRC, and it’s been nice to reconnect with those partners. In particular, it’s been good to see the work at My Brother’s Table, a soup kitchen in Lynn serving food seven days a week, year-round. The scale of food preparation there is so impressive. We currently distribute to them three times a week and they’re always able to take more food. I remember a day where I had received about 1,000 pounds of frozen broccoli and was unsure of who could take it. When I showed up at My Brother’s Table, their kitchen staff were so excited, and ended up taking most of it!
Before moving to Boston, I had done a few years of fieldwork jobs that all centered around environmental conversation. If I had continued with that work, I likely would have ended up in an administrative or leadership role in that setting. It still would have been great work, but I feel like I really found my niche with food rescue!
I’ve always been pretty good about making sure I eat leftovers, but something that would always go to waste was leftover French fries since they don’t hold well once they’ve cooled. About a year ago, I realized that these are just already cooked potatoes, and now one of my favorite things to do with restaurant leftovers is to take the fries home and make a breakfast hash the next day!
One thing that most people don’t know about me is that I played French horn throughout high school. I had played guitar before and wanted to join our high school jazz band, but to do that you were required to join the marching and concert band, which don’t include guitar, so I had to pick up another instrument. I forget how I settled on French horn (I think it was just a position the band director needed filled at the time), but I picked up enough to get by in the band pretty quickly, and I even went on to play with our city municipal band in an apprentice program.
Learn more about Dara and the other members of Team Spoonfuls on our staff page.