« February 2014 Table of Contents
Editor's Note: Leaders and legacies
By Fiona Robinson
February 01, 2014
Open box, pick up package, inspect for damage, find expiration date. Pass product on for separation into boxes for food, beverages, non-food and miscellaneous donations, or throw out if the product doesn’t pass muster. Repeat that process hundreds of times over the span of two and a half hours and all the volunteers at the Feeding South Florida facility are exhausted.
Close to 30 members of the National Fisheries Institute’s Future Leaders program spent several hours in mid-January volunteering at one of nine Feeding South Florida facilities in Miami. The food at Feeding South Florida gets distributed to approximately 1 million South Florida citizens. The pallets of food donated to the bank lined one entire wall of the warehouse, three rows deep.
In the city for NFI’s Global Seafood Market Conference, this volunteer effort was the final project of the 2013 Future Leaders class and the camaraderie developed during their five trips across the country was evident. (I was a member of the Future Leaders class of 2001, which makes me a “seasoned” alumni.)
These members of the seafood industry and those before them have rolled up their sleeves and worked together for a common goal: assisting people who are food insecure. The 2013 Future Leaders class donated more than 100,000 pounds of food to SeaShare and raised more than $20,000 for the nonprofit — a truly commendable job. As a SeaShare board member, I’m proud of what this class has done and look forward to new ideas to get this healthful protein onto the plates of millions of Americans who are in need.
On a sad note, industry leader Dick Gutting passed away on Dec. 24. Gutting was president of NFI for several years and was committed to the seafood industry even after he left the organization in 2003. He was known for his great communication skills: I remember calling him when I first joined SeaFood Business and he was always kind enough to explain everything at length to ensure I understood the issue at hand well enough to write about it. There always were pregnant pauses as he deliberated how to answer a question, during which I would envision his iconic bow tie and smile.
NFI’s Seafood Industry Research Fund recently approved the formation of a Richard E. Gutting Memorial Fund; I urge you to consider a donation to this as a legacy for an industry leader.