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Connecting communities through healthy food with Growing Chefs

October 14, 2021By
Young boy learning to cook with help of a volunteer

The annual Bandit Tour for Good is back for its ninth year in a row, spreading knowledge and kindness. Every year, employees from across the company, otherwise known as “Bandits”, pitch in to give what they’re good at, providing pro-bono Salesforce consulting to nonprofit organizations. But a lot has changed since our first team of Bandits hit the road in 2013. The tour typically started in Vancouver and traveled down the west coast en route to Dreamforce, stopping to do good deeds along the way. While we’re not rolling up in style to anyone’s door this year, our Bandits are still moving full steam ahead virtually, to help nonprofits drive their mission forward through the use of technology.

Centered around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, this year’s Bandit Tour features nonprofits focused on enriching lives by increasing good health and wellbeing and reducing inequality. This week, we’re checking in with Growing Chefs, a British Columbia-based organization participating in the North American leg of the tour.

Harvesting healthy habits from the start

Building on the goal of creating healthy bodies and minds, Growing Chefs is all about building healthy practices. Through classes led by chefs, their mission is to connect kids with food systems and make healthy and sustainable food more accessible.

Their classroom programs provide an opportunity for kids to engage in the entire food cycle, from planting seeds to harvesting, to preparing a meal with the ingredients they’ve grown. Not only does this empower kids with the tools needed to eat well, but it also builds a sustainable mindset and a greater appreciation for food. Nothing tastes better than a meal you’ve grown with your own two hands, with a sprinkle of pride and accomplishment on top.

Kid eating healthy food off plate

Creating sustainable solutions to support growth

The organization has quite literally grown from the ground up. What started as a classroom gardening program for just a handful of schools, has evolved into cooking and gardening classes in over 90 classrooms with the help of 200 to 300 volunteers. With a growing number of programs and volunteers, Growing Chefs came to the Bandits wanting to resolve inefficiencies in their volunteer tracking.

“Demand for our programming continues to grow, and we need to improve our efficiency to respond to that. We’ve been using Salesforce for many years, but I know the Bandit team’s knowledge and experience is going to expand what is possible for us more than we could do on our own”, explains Amanda Adams, Program Director at Growing Chefs.

With a growing number of programs, and classes offered both in-person and virtually, a streamlined volunteer tracking system is essential.

Chef in the kitchen teaching kid

Automating the volunteer registration process

As they work with a vulnerable population, volunteers need to pass through many steps within the Growing Chefs registration process. Some steps are manual, while others are automated, making it difficult to track their progress and ensure the right team member is reaching out at the right time.

The Bandits quickly came in to help fine-tune the Growing Chefs volunteer registration process with the help of automation. “We built validation rules within Salesforce that require volunteers to pass through all screening steps before they can be assigned to a school. This ensures an efficient, yet thorough, screening process”, explains Heather Purvis, Bandit and Senior Developer at Traction on Demand.

As our base of chef and community volunteers expands and evolves, we need more efficient ways to manage them. The work the Bandit team has done is helping us grow our capacity so that we can engage even more food professionals and ultimately reach more kids.Amanda Adams, Program Director, Growing Chefs

In addition to the validation rules, the Bandits also configured a flow to automatically initiate the next step once a volunteer signs up. This will trigger a team reminder to start the phone call screening stage. Triggered event reminders will reduce the time the team spends on repetitive, manual tasks, allowing them to progress volunteers through the process seamlessly.

With their volunteer process tuned up, Growing Chefs can now dedicate more time to reaching even more children with innovative food literacy programs.

Our Bandit mission doesn’t end here.

We’re expanding the spirit of giving to Dreamforce this year as well, by providing even more support to grassroots organizations. Hop on over to our Dreamforce Distilled page to learn more about how your time can make a difference.

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