After moving back to St Louis in 2021, Caleb Bobo wanted to find a way to get involved in the community. A Supervisory Examiner and CRA Program Manager at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Caleb works around the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)—a piece of legislation that requires banks of a certain size to be involved with their local community.
He first heard about Food Outreach through his involvement in Focus St. Louis’ Emerging Leaders program. “I was involved in Focus St. Louis’s Emerging Leaders Program and part of the program is you do a capstone project with a local nonprofit. At the time, Food Outreach was looking at how to expand its work into serving folks with diabetes. Our capstone team did some of the research into what type 2 diabetes looks like in Missouri and St. Louis more specifically, and how Medically Tailored Meals could help with type 2 diabetes.”
The research done by Caleb’s group helped to develop a needs statement for Food Outreach’s Diabetes Pilot Program that provides Medically Tailored Meals, groceries, and nutrition counseling to individuals experiencing food insecurity and uncontrolled type II diabetes. It also inspired Caleb to get more involved with Food Outreach. He reached out to Food Outreach Executive Director Julie Lock and offered to help her find more funding opportunities through his professional associations. “I gave Julie a presentation of sorts on how the Community Reinvestment Act could be used to bring banks to the table to talk about the work Food Outreach does in the community. I think Julie was really intrigued and asked if I wanted to take another step forward in my involvement with Food Outreach by joining the board and I was happy to do so. I felt like I had a skill that I could offer Food Outreach by helping them expand their brand to reach new funders.”
Caleb also likes to volunteer at the Saturday Cook and Pack shift. “It’s cool to see behind the curtain and see how we go from cooking to packing to ultimately serving the food to clients. In that three to four-hour time, we are a well-oiled machine, we are scooping, lidding, packing, and moving along. Seeing the efficiency of our volunteer section allows me to know that we are maximizing the time of our volunteers to ultimately reach more people. It’s a good use of time and you get to meet a lot of cool people in the process. Win-win!”
One of Caleb’s favorite parts of volunteering—whether on the board or in the kitchen—is all the different people he is able to meet. “Additionally, what I love to do during those Cook and Pack sessions is talk to volunteers and see what brought them to volunteer at Food Outreach. I’m always blown away by the different reasons—some are here with their mom and their mom is a volunteer, others heard about the organization from a family member, and there were a few times when there were second-generation volunteers—getting to talk to them is always really exciting.”
At the Food Outreach board meetings, Caleb really appreciates working with a group of individuals who are also enthusiastic about the mission and helping others in the St. Louis community. “Every time the board gathers, I’m always blown away by how passionate the board and staff are about the mission and the work we’re doing. When you have passionate, smart, talented people, I think any mission is achievable. I enjoy getting to interact with savvy people on the board and those who work at Food Outreach; and especially putting that together with this new strategic effort around the idea of how medically tailored meals can serve more people and how Food Outreach can use this innovative approach to meet the needs of people living with cancer, HIV, and now diabetes. It’s all just very exciting.”
Recently married, Caleb and his wife Sabrina are self-described foodies and enjoy going to new restaurants and wine tastings. They spent their honeymoon in California touring various vineyards. In addition to volunteering at Food Outreach and serving on its finance committee, Caleb is on the leadership team of the University of Kansas Black Alumni Network. When not volunteering, Caleb can be found working to keep his yard immaculate or finishing up his recent home improvement project of finishing his basement. He likes to remain active and loves playing golf and going to the gym.
A member of Westside Missionary Baptist Church, Caleb’s faith is an important part of his life and part of the reason he wanted to get involved with Food Outreach. “A huge part of life is my faith, and I believe my faith calls me to serve others, particularly those who are sick and those in need. I think those two boxes are checked by the work of Food Outreach. But additionally, and maybe more importantly, I think Food Outreach is an innovative organization that is not only serving St. Louis in this unique way but also on the cutting edge of how healthy food options can treat those living with different medical conditions.”