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In a Time of Growing Need, FeedMore Expands Its Scope 

click to enlarge ​Doug Pick is applying the lessons he learned as a startup and turnaround guy at Capital One to move FeedMore​ in the future.

Scott Elmquist

​Doug Pick is applying the lessons he learned as a startup and turnaround guy at Capital One to move FeedMore​ in the future.

Doug Pick has a personality that’s too big for a single office to contain. The chief executive and president of FeedMore, in his blue button-down, khakis and shiny loafers, walks through the sprawling rabbit warren of warehouses and other offices, down long hallways, greeting employees and volunteers, congratulating some and asking about the holiday plans of others.

The old tobacco warehouses that house FeedMore are filled with bins of crackers and cookies, juice boxes and cans of vegetables, while stacks of pallets and shelving soar to the ceiling.

Although Pick may be a textbook extravert, he’s also, surprisingly, a stats nerd. He walks me through FeedMore’s strategic journey report — it’s bursting with information — drilling down on the numbers, unpacking brightly colored charts and graphs, and explaining how, by changing the way the nonprofit sends mail to its donors, it can increase giving.

Or perhaps it isn’t that surprising. Pick spent 20 years at IBM and another 12 at Capital One, spearheading startups and projects that included things such as the 9/11 telethon that opened with Bruce Springsteen during that awful weekend in 2001.

“It was a really great, proud moment for Capital One,” Pick says. “We kept it quiet — we didn’t announce it, we didn’t look for any accolades.”

When he became vice president in Cap One’s mortgage department, he realized that it was time to go. “I was helping mortgage operations — which I knew nothing about,” he says — “so I laid myself off.” After that, with a few forays in other fields, he took over as head of FeedMore in 2012.

“I grew up in Roanoke with do-gooder parents,” Pick says. One of his most vivid memories was taking two peach baskets full of food to a local family. He wound up becoming best friends with their sons. And when he began at FeedMore, he says, “the memories came flooding back.”

Today, Pick is working to make the nonprofit a more sophisticated and efficient organization, drawing on his Cap One experience as a startup and turnaround guy. He oversees a $45 million budget that feeds 200,000 people in 29 counties and five cities.

The organization covers about 50 percent of the need, but Pick wants to up that figure to around two-thirds in the next few years.

“The good news is that our lines are not getting longer,” he says, “but [the bad news is] the need is getting greater.”

As large food companies become efficient and less wasteful, FeedMore will have to start purchasing more food to compensate for sinking in-kind corporate donations. Food drives account for only 8 percent of what’s on warehouse shelves.

What does that mean for the future of FeedMore?

“Our brand essence is nourishing the community and empowering lives,” Pick says. Providing healthy food to those who need it is the organization’s focus, but Pick wants to start collaborations with other nonprofits to help clients with jobs, transportation, health and housing.

“I see inefficiencies and redundancies,” he says. “We want the community to become aware that together we can do more.”

FeedMore has about 250 volunteers a day to help sort food for the food bank, cook for Meals on Wheels and deliver food to 800 seniors a day. I asked Pick what the organization needs most right now — cash or more volunteers? Pick unequivocally says money, because the amount of food to be purchased keeps increasing.

“Donors are investing in us to secure the community,” he says.

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