University of Victoria business students teamed up with Our Place Society to come up with recommendations to improve the organization’s services.
“Our students found that working with Our Place was both challenging and rewarding,” said Heather Ranson, service management professor in the Gustavson School of Business.
Our Place Society serves some of the most vulnerable such as the working poor, mentally and physically challenged and the homeless. It serves around 1,200 to 1,500 meals a day.
Due to growing demand, the organization increased services by more than 30 per cent, which created challenges around space, staffing, volunteers and integration of services.
The joint effort resulted in several recommendations such as extending meal service from 60 minutes to 90 minutes, and also a tracking system for food donations.
“It was wonderful to engage with the university and the rewards were more than we were expecting,” said Le-Ann Dolan, director of operations at Our Place.
Volunteers were also included in the improvement with software development to track hours so they can reward volunteers individually.
Also, providing volunteers with conflict management training.
“Not only was this an opportunity for the students to engage first hand with the most vulnerable citizens of Victoria, it was a unique experience for everyone at Our Place Society,” said Dolan.