URBANA — Jim Hires, who has led the Eastern Illinois Foodbank for 15 years, has announced plans to retire in the spring.
Hires, the food bank's CEO and president since 2005, said he plans to remain in that role until he is replaced or until April 2, 2021.
Hires first came to the food bank in Urbana after working in Columbus, Ohio as an executive in the cable television industry for 20 years. Before that, he was a school administrator in Champaign County for nearly 15 years.
During his tenure at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank, he has expanded the region the food bank serves from 14 to 18 counties and oversaw a more than five-fold increase in annual food distribution, from 2.2 million pounds to nearly 11.5 million pounds, according to an announcement from the food bank.
Under Hires’ tenure, the food bank also expanded the number of people served per month from 48,800 to 55,000.
“Being able to lead the work of the food bank these past years is the most important, fulfilling and humbling thing I have done in my entire work life,” Hires said. “I have felt honored and grateful every day to address alleviating hunger with an amazing and talented staff, who made this an extraordinary place to work each day.
After he retires, Hires plans to remain active in addressing issues of food insecurity, poverty and social justice and pursue his interest in indigenous peoples around the world, according to the food bank.