Food share hopes to rebuild relationships

COOS BAY, Ore.-- The South Coast's largest charity is hoping to rebuild once strained relationships with other South Coast non-profits.

Oregon Coast Community Action upset some local organizations last summer by cutting off food supplies to them in order for ORCCA to be in compliance with rules given to them by the Oregon Food Bank. Now their new director is looking to rebuild those relationships.

"Not only is it a goal of mine, but the board that hired me also required me to make it one of my goals," Mike Lehman, ORCCA Executive Director said.

Lehman, who has only been at the non-profit's top job for a little more than a month, said a lot has been done in recent weeks that have been positive.

"There were some issues over the last couple of years," Lehman said. "Right now, I'm not aware of any that are terribly broken. I think there's still some that we are building trust with. I think everything is back to normal. I know we're working with Maslow and the others to make certain they get what they need."

ORCCA said one of the first organizations it reached out to was The Maslow Project, a bay area organization focused on helping homeless teens. ORCCA had to temporarily cut off supllies to the organization last summer. ORCCA now supplies Maslow with "family packs", a sack of food filled with three canned meals, a snack and a drink.

One unexpected change at ORCCA was the recent resignation of Rollie Lobsinger, the South Coast Food Share director. South Coast Food Share is a branch of ORCCA.

Lobsinger's tenure expanded food sharing in Coos and Curry Counties, but at times, the organization was asked to give more than it could supply which contributd to last year's strained relationships. He is leaving to explore other things he's always wanted to try in his life.

Lobsinger said in a statement "I have to leave the area to follow some dreams of mine, but I am glad that we were able to distribute more than twice the food than we did in 2006, and we did it during the great recession. I will miss my staff and their dedication."

Whether his position will be filled by a replacement is another question.

Lehman said Food Share staff have been trained to perform many of Lobsinger's previous duties, and so the need to have a chair over the Food Share that reports to Lehman is no longer as necessary as it has been in the past.

"The duties are no longer on just one person. They're spread out," Lehman said.

Right now the possibility of eliminating the position is being studied by ORCCA, and there is no hurry to find a replacement, he said.