It was 1982 when John first heard of “food banks”: large regional nonprofit organizations acting on behalf of hundreds of area food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, etc. in soliciting and distributing millions of pounds of surplus food that would otherwise go to waste.
From then until cancer forced his retirement in December 2010, John focused his work on food bank and food pantry projects. He directed three food banks: the Central Illinois Food Bank (1982-84), the St. Louis Area Food Bank (1984-87), and what is now Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank (1989-2010), distributing a total of 321 million pounds of food aid, and pioneering many landmark innovations in the art and science of food banking, including promotion of letting clients assemble their own food boxes, and using former beverage trucks as mobile food pantries.
In 2010, John received the national food bank network’s John Van Hengel Award in recognition of his contributions and dedication to food banking. He passed away in 2012.