A lot has changed over the past 19 years at the West Ohio Food Bank. For starters, it's in a much larger building. Its added programs like the backpack program and increased the number of people it serves exponentially. That's all been thanks to CEO Bambi Markham, but after 19 years at the helm she's retiring, but her departure didn't go unnoticed.
"Now I David J. Berger, Mayor of Lima declare August 1, 2012 as Bambi Markham Day in our community," Lima Mayor David Berger, said.
With that proclamation Bambi Markham enters retirement.
"It's been 19 years but now it's time to turn over the reins to someone else," Markham said.
She's spent the last 19 years as CEO of the West Ohio Food Bank and in that time she's seen a lot of change. When she started the food bank was on Kenilworth and Spring Streets in Lima and served 50 agencies and distributed 750,000 pounds of food a year. Markham credits that growth to the food banks move in 2005 to its current location on East Kibby Street. It's one of her biggest accomplishments.
"It has allowed us with the cooling and the refrigerated frozen space to take semi loads in we weren't able to do before we came here and it's just been a real God's blessing," Markham said.
Another thing Markham is especially proud of is the backpack program which provides students with meals to get them through the weekend. Markham expects the number of children served to double next year.
"Its a sad scenario that we have that many children on the weekend that need food but it's also a good feeling when a group of us and many volunteers can put those bags together and get those to the kids on Friday," she said.
Now it's up to incoming CEO Gary Bright to make sure no one goes hungry. Bright wants to focus on hunger awareness and education.
"We can get the message out to more people in our community, we can get food out to more people than we have yet, and not because of any shortcoming up until now, it's just a matter of there are more people out there who need the help," Bright said.
Even though Markham is officially retired she's not done working yet. She'll help Bright transition into her position over the next few months.