Big plans are in store for new WF Area Food Bank CEO

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - The Wichita Falls Area Food Bank is under new leadership.
The board of directors approved Kara Nickens in December as C.E.O., with Monday as her first day.
Nickens has short term goals as well as long term.
    "I would like to learn more about the needs in our community and to, maybe, have a greater outreach and impact in those rural areas," Nickens said. "There are one in six individuals in our region that are food insecure. When you looks at children, it's one in four. In Texas it is 1.5 million, which is second to California. You see the important services of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank."
She said she has always wanted to get involved in a non-profit organization and added she loves the food bank's mission and what they stand for.
She wants to keep educating the community on hunger related issues and how you can help.
    "I want to continue to carry out the mission of the food bank, which is uniting communities to fight hunger through food education and advocacy," Nickens said. "And enhance our vision of hunger-free communities."
Nickens is honored to start on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day for service.
    "Martin Luther King Jr. is so important to us," Nickens said. "And we have some people here volunteering in honor of Martin Luther King Day. We have some people from Midwestern State and the Americore Group."
Jessica Bachman, Nutritional Services Director of the Wichita Falls Area Food Bank, is optimistic about their future.
    "I think it is always interesting and good when a new leader comes in because it's a good way to have a fresh set of eyes on the food bank," Bachman said. "There's good things and there's things to improve on. Being able to have someone with her experience come in is good. We're excited to see what the future holds."
Nickens is appreciative of the role the community serves.
    "If it weren't for our volunteers, we wouldn't be able to provide the services that we do," Nickens said. "They do everything from helping us go out and get donations to delivering donations and being in the warehouse. Whether it's sorting or something else, they are just as important as those that are making the donations."
Bachman said that anything the food bank can do to work towards making sure as many people in their 12 county are have food is important to them.
The food bank, along with others across the U.S., are starting to work more with healthcare partners so people sent home from the hospital have access to food that will allow their bodies to heal.
Nickens said she was very encouraged by how many groups showed up Monday, on MLK Day, to serve and looks forward to seeing many more in the future.
In 2016, approximately 3.6 million pounds of food were distributed.
68 percent was healthier foods, such as whole grains and fresh produce.

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