The 2019 Crown Communities Awards
What is in this article?
- The 2019 Crown Communities Awards
- Orange County, Fla.: Competitive food drive
- Phoenix, Ariz.: Biogas-to-renewable natural gas plant
- Marietta, Ga.: Connected city network and app
- West Sacramento, Calif.: On-demand bus public transit
- Ottawa, Ka.: Downtown outdoor event space
- Ormond Beach, Fla.: Citizen engagement meeting series
Orange County, Fla.: Competitive food drive
Sometimes, public innovation barely costs any public funds. Such was the case with Orange County, Fla.’s 2019 elected official competitive food drive, which the Orange County Tax Collector’s Office led.
The food drive was devised and spearheaded by the Volorangeteer Committee, a group within the Tax Collector’s Office that leads the office in community aid activities within the county (similar committees exist within other Orange County offices). A few key characteristics made this food drive stand out from most.
First, this food drive was held ahead of “food drive season” to create true stockpiles in the eight local pantries that the committee selected for the drive. The food drive was also held right after hurricane season, when people had stocked up on food supplies for their own pantries.
Notably, the Volorangeteer Committee organized this food drive as a competition between the offices of elected Orange County officials. The offices of six elected Orange County officials competed in the food drive: the offices of the tax collector, the clerk of courts, the comptroller, the property appraiser, the sheriff and the supervisor of elections.
Over the course of September, the employees of these offices donated over 3,000 pounds of food. The Tax Collector’s Office ended up winning the food drive, having donated over 1,100 pounds of food.
While the Tax Collector’s Office had held food drives in the past several years, “there was actually no comparison with this food drive; they were on a much smaller scale,” says Cindy Valentine, assistant tax collector at the Orange County Tax Collector’s Office, who estimates that the previous food drive had raised around 700 pounds of food.
Once the food was collected, the Volorangeteer Committee contributed about 60 hours of volunteer time to sort through collected items to ensure that the eight recipient pantries received an equal mix of items.
The Volorangeteer Committee plans to repeat the food drive next year, and this year’s food drive cost the equivalent of some forgotten legal-size sheets of paper and scrap boxes from a warehouse.
“Just to be able to give back and see the generosity of our staff in giving back to the fellow residents here within the county was just phenomenal to me,” Valentine says.