How a Kellogg volunteer helped us diaper more area children

By Allie VanHeest, Chair, Board of Directors, St. Luke’s Diaper Bank

At first, we were a little nervous about what to expect. After all, Kellogg was offering St. Luke’s Diaper Bank the help of one of its employees to achieve our goals. How could they help? Would it be a good investment of our limited time?

Hands on a laptop keyboard — Image by © Laura Doss/Corbis

At the time, St. Luke’s Diaper Bank had two employees and many volunteers. We were in the middle of our busiest year yet when we would provide 388,834 diapers to 7,775 families in the Kalamazoo, Michigan area. Fortunately, we hit pause and gave serious consideration to how this offer might work for us. That’s when we met Matt Reid.

A food designer at Kellogg, Matt had signed up for a new company volunteer program – skills-based volunteering. The effort matches employees who wish to further develop their skills with local nonprofits who want the help. We had decided to use the offer of volunteer support to continue our journey of building the systems and processes we need to grow, so we could better meet the ever-increasing needs of area families.

Although we’ve already provided more than 1 million diapers in our community, so many more diapers are needed. It’s estimated that one in three families with children underage three struggle to purchase diapers. By providing this essential resource, we are uplifting families so they can raise their children well in the ways they want.

With Matt’s help, we created an annual employee performance review process with job profiles and core competencies for current and future roles. Over the three months we worked together, we enjoyed a real partnership. Matt offered a great skillset and always had a lot of ideas for how we could achieve our goals. Leveraging his Kellogg experience, Matt especially helped us think through how to best build equity into our hiring and compensation practices. For example, if we require college degrees, what other skills might we be losing in candidates?

Since working with Matt, we’ve successfully hired two new team members. The Board also completed its first, more formalized performance evaluation of our executive director. Everyone came away from the experiences feeling very positive and grateful for Matt’s help. As a nonprofit leader, I’m grateful we stopped to think about how to best benefit from the Kellogg skills-based volunteer program. I suggest anyone who wants to get involved be really clear on the body of work you want done but stay flexible. With Matt, we identified several other opportunities along the way and I’m sure you will as well.

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