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Never Board with Helping STC Seniors
Talking with Board Member Dwayne Brake
"Thinking about my grandmother and how my mother was working full time, I could see how much of a challenge it was for her because my grandmother was homebound. It was just at a time we did not have transportation, in order to take care of the basic needs to do grocery shopping and things like that. You don't know how much of a privilege that is, (transportation) until you don't have it."
It was this nostalgic memory that motivated Mr. Dwayne Brake to serve as a board member of STC. "I wanted to devote my time to something that was meaningful, but also that I had a personal passion for." Mr. Brake is one of STC's newest board members having served on it for a little over two years.
In reality helping seniors as well as children has prompted his career as he is employed at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. "I'm the VP of Operation for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. I have served for just over 11 years. My primary responsibilities are around strategic planning. But I have direct oversight of the transportation and warehousing aspect of the GCFB."
For those who are facing similar challenges like Mr. Brake's mother and grandmother, he says, STCrides "really spoke to me and sparks my passion and my motivation towards STCrides."
The direction of the Greater Cleveland Food bank changed for Mr. Brake when we went into pandemic mode. "So prior to the pandemic, the community centers were a great opportunity to provide those meals for seniors but also have a collaborative environment." Afterward we tried "to focus a little bit more on home delivery and try to reach that really hard population that we have which have transportation issues." Another post pandemic program that was initialized, "A select number of National Guard members also will handle a 200 deliveries in a given week, specifically for home bound seniors. They received a fresh box of produce and also emergency box. That is really one of the biggest changes we made specifically geared toward seniors."
When Mr. Brake joined the board he saw STC, "an opportunity to continue work and spread the passion of mine to really try and help the seniors beyond my normal job. Because senior transportation does a great job of filling some of those gaps as well as removing some of those barriers for more productivity to really get to those critical issues." That is the issue of transportation of food to our seniors.
I have had, "Great conversation with Janice (Executive Director of Senior Transportation Connection) collaborating further and it has encouraged me to keep the dialog going. To really heighten the awareness but really continue to move the needle on hunger specifically."
In the future Mr. Brake Hope to, "understand the routes, and the community engagement piece from the drivers perspective; to continually be engaged and get to know a little more about the operations from the ground up."
We at STC look forward to our continued association and collaborations with Mr. Brake and the GCFB.