Chris “Bo” Bovance pulls product in the St. Louis Area Foodbank’s warehouse / Photo by Bethany Prange
It’s a behind-the-scenes gig that comes with little fanfare, but huge purpose.
From a distance, it looks like any other warehouse job, in any other organization.
In fact, the job requires the usual skills – driving a forklift, stacking boxes and organizing goods.
But Chris “Bo” Bovance will tell you that this job at St. Louis Area Foodbank is different from other warehouse jobs.
Here, “the harder we work the more agencies are able to provide more food,” Bo says. “The harder we work the more people we are helping.”
In his first six months as a warehouse associate here, Bo spent most of his time inside the Foodbank.
As donated items come in from retail stores such as Sam’s Club, Walmart and Target, he and his fellow warehouse associates sort and weigh each pallet of food.
The St. Louis Area Foodbank warehouse team has major responsibilities. They are the ones in charge of making sure that the perishables and meat are put into refrigeration or the freezer, to ensure they last as long as possible.
They are also responsible for tracking every pound of food that enters the Foodbank warehouse, ensuring that each store, food drive or individual is credited for their donation.
Bo and the rest of the warehouse team also select and stage the orders placed by the Foodbank’s 500 partner agencies.
“Here we give the food to the agencies then the agencies give the food directly to the people who need it,” Bo says.
But then two weeks ago, Bo got his first chance to be there in person as clients received food from the Foodbank.
He attended a Foodbank Food Fair in Farmington, Mo., and helped distribute more than 20,000 pounds of food to roughly 170 families in need.
“I was able to put a face with the people who are receiving food. I was able to see that the people really are needing it.” Bo said. “It’s getting to the people who need it.”
Bo helped unload the Foodbank trucks, and load the clients’ cars with food. He said it was rewarding to work with the food pantry volunteers in person and observe how they work with the clients.
“Everything was handled professionally,” he said. “The teams who were out there were handling it very well. To me it was a success.”
Chris “Bo” Bovance is a warehouse associate at the St. Louis Area Foodbank. He is expecting his first child this summer.