Community Food Bank is far more than a job to Warehouse Manager Randall Martin. It’s a mission, and a way of life.
What’s more, it brought him the opportunity to meet the woman who would become his wife.
“I first got married in 1985,” he said. “She passed away in 2010. “Recently, I got married to Cheryl, who I met here when we were both volunteers. We’ve now been married for two years.”
For one reason or another, Randall checks on things at Community Food Bank nearly every day of the year. From early morning trips to local supermarkets for baked goods to checking on refrigeration in the warehouse, he has his fingers in many aspects of the operation that continues to feed 5,000 people each month.
Randall clearly loves his work. He acknowledges that his current job is the one he intends to retire from many years from now. He manages a blistering schedule with a smile and an air of quiet competence.
“I like the satisfaction of bringing in all this fresh, organic produce, and being able to distribute it back to the community,” he said recently. “I work diligently to keep the unk out of our operation. I’m really happy to be in the valley we’re in, and to be able to acquire the things we do.”
Randall grew up in East Los Angeles. He is a graduate of La Habra High. He worked in his father’s landscape business, and in a medical supply warehouse there. When the warehouse operation moved to Texas and his father’s business moved to the Central Coast, so did he. He first worked as an urban forester for the city of Castroville while continuing to help with his father’s business, Assured Landscape. Soon, he was offered the chance to supervise maintenance for the town’s community center. He moved on to work for the city of Hollister’s public works department, and was promoted to the role of maintenance manager for the municipal airport. That ended with a round of budget cuts.
Randall’s next stop was the unemployment office, and a visit to the nearby operations center for Community Food Bank. “I started volunteering here five days a week from 7 a.m. until lunch time,” he recalled. “I had used the services several years earlier when they were at Vets’ Park. At that time, there was a service component, and I never did my hours, so I guess I came out of guilt.”
Whatever his initial motivation, Randall found he liked the work. Volunteering led to a job offer, and he was hired first as a driver. Within a few months, he was managing warehouse operations. It’s now been four years since he took the job.
As Community Food Bank embarks upon a search for permanent quarters, Randall is looking forward to helping design a facility that will more efficiently bring food to people.
Between tracking a constantly shifting inventory and getting perishable produce out the door while it’s at its peak, Randall and Cheryl enjoy time with their family. Randall is the father of five, stepfather to three and a grandfather to four more.
In his spare time – he actually professes to having a bit of time – he enjoys being outdoors. He often commutes several miles to Community Food Bank via bicycle. His real passion is Frisbee golf, and he ticks off a long list of courses throughout the area where he’s brought his bag of 12 discs for a round.
“I first got into that in the early ‘80s. I grew up with a strong golfing background,” he said. He caddied, and his father even once played in what was then called the Bing Crosby Pro-Am Tournament.
But when he started a family, and greens fees started to creep up, the clubs got replaced with the discs. He recently celebrated his 50th birthday with a road trip that included the Grand Canyon and a few adventures, like indoor skydiving. Birthday adventures are nothing new. He spent his 45th in the cockpit of a sailplane, soaring with Golden Eagles and floating over Hollister.
He also enjoys being in the kitchen, where he can exercise his creativity. He was recently asked to share a recipe (shrimp and grits), and found the process taxing, because when he’s in the kitchen, he leaves the measuring spoons and cups in the drawer, cooking by instinct.
“Instinct.” It’s pretty much what defines his approach to life and work. When Randy sees a need, it just doesn’t occur to him not to fill it himself. That’s just his instinct talking.
Mark Paxton is director of community engagement and fund development at Community Food Bank. In his spare time, he enjoys being outdoors with his wife, Mary. They are the parents of two daughters and live in Hollister.