We are always interested in hearing more about the individuals in food banking across Canada! This month, our spotlight is on Alex Bilotta from The Food Bank of York Region in Concord, ON.
What is your role in food banking?
I am the founder of The Food Bank of York Region. I started as a volunteer with another organization that was a member of Feed Ontario. Before 2012, support from Feed Ontario and Food Banks Canada rarely made it to York Region until our organization, LifeCorps International offered to help. We were able to accept food from Feed Ontario to a warehouse that was provided to us at no cost.
A few months after, the Regional Municipality of York offered us an opportunity to create a food distribution hub. I went from volunteering to operating a food hub for York Region as their CEO within just a few months.
Describe a typical day in one word.
What was your inspiration to get involved in food banking?
LifeCorps International had worked on several international community projects in the past but we hadn’t yet worked in our local community. When we were offered to take on as the food hub for York Region, we agreed to take on the challenge.
What is your greatest achievement in your current role?
We’ve increased the hunger count in York Region every year since 2012. As our capacity to collect and deliver healthy fresh and frozen foods increased every year, we found more people were accessing food from our network.
What is the greatest challenge in your current role?
Our greatest challenge is finding and hiring the right staff. It’s difficult to find people that have the skills required to fill key positions and has a passion for working in a charitable organization. The non-profit culture is different than for-profit.
If you could have one wish granted that would address hunger in Canada what would it be?
If we could achieve zero hunger, that would be my wish, but I have difficulty believing that any political system in our history would be able to ensure that nobody goes hungry in the world. So, I wish that we had gazillions of dollars so we can feed everyone that needed food support.
Which talent would you most like to have?
The power of influence.
If you could tell your younger self advice, what would it be?
Learn how to create and retain wealth without the wealth owning you.
Who are your heroes? Fictional or real life
Jesus of Nazareth.
What is your idea of happiness?
I’m still trying to figure that out. I’m 58 – I should do that soon.
What is your motto?
To be a W.H.A.R.F. – Wise, Healthy, Attractive, Rich and Funny; not necessarily in that order. Once I achieve wisdom, I’ll move onto the others.
Something quirky about you that others may not expect or know?
Your theme song?
We are the champions. When I played high school basketball, we always played the song during warmups. We won all the awards that we could in our region. I won the most valuable player in our final game after sitting on the bench most of the year.
Do you know a food bank or food banker that could be featured on our next Spotlight? Contact us at email@example.com.