Meet our volunteer, Mia! She is an Optimized Operations Engineer, she helps to make processes in manufacturing, service, and distribution centers more efficient. Mia utilizes her skills with Lean Six Sigma as a specialized volunteer at Food Bank of Iowa. She helps our Volunteer Center Coordinators to improve our food sorting and packaging processes, so we can get more food to more people faster!

How do you volunteer with Food Bank of Iowa (what are your roles/duties)?

With my background in Lean and Six Sigma, I wanted to volunteer by applying my process improvement skills to help improve the volunteer processes such as food sorting. I am also helping David, the Volunteer Center Coordinator, apply Lean principles to the Volunteer Center such as 5S and improving the flow to hopefully increase the amount of food sorted/packed through process changes. I have come down to see the facility once to observe one of the volunteer processes, but most of my work is done remotely, due to COVID-19 and travel distance.


Why did you choose to volunteer with Food Bank of Iowa?

As part of the Optimized Operations (O2) program at my workplace, I get to spend 40-80 hours for my time this year volunteering for a non-profit applying my skills in process improvement. I chose to spend these hours volunteering at Food Bank of Iowa, because I have current experience in distribution and found it awesome that Food Bank of Iowa serves as a distribution center for many pantries across the state. Especially due to COVID-19, I wanted to volunteer somewhere I could make an impact, and the Food Bank’s mission to combat food insecurity is very meaningful, especially during this pandemic.


What makes volunteering with Food Bank of Iowa a meaningful use of your time?

For me, volunteering at Food Bank of Iowa is meaningful as I get to work with the individuals that help run the volunteer program and help them make sustainable change. I not only get to help them improve their process now, but hopefully I get to help them be able to identify how to keep improving their processes in the future. I get to use my skills and also make an impact.


What do you wish other people knew about Food Bank of Iowa?

I think it’s a great organization, and you can volunteer your time in ways other than being in-person. With COVID-19, it’s sometimes hard to choose to volunteer in person, and the Food Bank allowed me to do a lot of volunteering remotely.


What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at Food Bank of Iowa?

Definitely reach out and let them know what help you can offer! Like I said before, especially during this pandemic, you can still make an impact by volunteering from home/remotely like me! The people I’ve interacted with at Food Bank of Iowa have all been really kind and willing to hear what skills I had to offer to hopefully make an impact by volunteering my time to the organization.