Smartsheet helps BakerRipley quickly deliver emergency food and support to thousands of Houston families hit by the COVID-19 crisis

As the Houston area starts the challenging process of safely reopening businesses, BakerRipley is ready to rely on Smartsheet to help with new community needs.

Industry

  • Nonprofit

Organization Size

  • Large (1,000 - 9,999 employees)

Region

  • North America

Use Cases

  • Collaboration
  • Event Management
  • Mission Critical Operations

We were able to execute pretty flawlessly. The program enabled us to register, communicate, and provide information regarding PPE and safety measures to staff. And we did it all via Smartsheet. Employees were able to efficiently access all of the necessary details on one platform. The best part was that we were able to quickly support so many families in Houston with basic needs.

Jeanine Cepon-Geier, Business Process Analyst, BakerRipley

 

BakerRipley is a nationally recognized, Houston-based nonprofit that brings resources, education, and connection to nearly 600,000 individuals in Greater Houston each year. The organization exists to keep the region a welcoming place of opportunity where everyone can earn, learn, belong and be well. Since the onset of the pandemic, BakerRipley has been holding the line for its neighbors, responding to their most critical needs. The agency quickly pivoted its strategies and programs to address heightened food and basic needs insecurities, provide essential programs through virtual platforms, and give individuals access to critical resources. Smartsheet helped BakerRipley quickly adapt its operations to respond to the crisis.

“In a state of crisis, we know that our immediate response can’t wait because half a million people whom we serve depend on us; the region depends on us,” says Jeanine Cepon-Geier, business process analyst at BakerRipley. “We also recognize that our neighbors will no doubt be disproportionately impacted by the crisis. COVID-19 has magnified our mission across all aspects of everyday life. Our immediate response efforts focused on addressing food and financial insecurity. Through valuable partnerships, like the Houston Food Bank, we were able to host drive-through food distributions at our locations quickly.”

BakerRipley quickly tailored essential programs to safely respond to the pandemic. The organization hosts drive-through food distributions, delivers meal to older adults, provides direct financial assistance, and offers virtual programming for adult education, small business support, and immigration and citizenship services. Staff and volunteers needed to ensure that all efforts were well staffed for food sorting, distribution, and deliveries. Teams also needed to source and deploy personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, and set up a system to track impact. It all needed to happen as quickly and simply as possible. 

Cepon-Geier worked with the teams organizing community food distributions to create a Smartsheet solution for scheduling staff, assigning locations, tracking equipment and supplies, and capturing data. A Smartsheet form made it easy for event volunteers to sign up for multiple shifts over a period of weeks, at the times and locations that worked best for them. Cepon-Geier says it took her about eight hours to create a solution that was ready to use for planning and scheduling the first week of distributions, and another few days to build it out for additional weeks.

“We were able to execute pretty flawlessly,” Cepon-Geier says. “The program enabled us to register, communicate, and provide information regarding PPE and safety measures to staff.  And we did it all via Smartsheet. Employees were able to efficiently access all of the necessary details on one platform. The best part was that we were able to quickly support so many families in Houston with basic needs.”

One tool that helped simplify the drive-through food distributions was the Smartsheet mobile app, which helped staff capture crucial data to better serve local communities. By late June 2020, BakerRipley had distributed more than 222,000 meals and nearly 650,000 pounds of fresh produce and groceries to the community.

The Smartsheet mobile app also streamlined the gift card program, which required a more detailed approval process. Cepon-Geier used automated alerts to route applications to managers for quick approval; staff members at the centers could then use the app’s bar code scanner to log each gift card before handing them out. More than 200 cards were distributed using the quicker application and approval process.

“Because there’s money involved and there are certain qualifications for people to receive the gift, we have to track the distribution of all the cards,” Cepon-Geier says. “Smartsheet enabled us to process the approval so families could get their money quickly.”

The faster card distribution process has inspired Cepon-Geier to work with BakerRipley’s career assistance team to implement Smartsheet for its existing program for providing gas and transit cards to job seekers. The current process is cumbersome, she says, and using the mobile app can eliminate the need to buy and maintain dedicated bar code scanners. Cutting costs and time out of the career assistance program could make it more effective in helping community members get back on their feet in the future.

As the Houston area starts the challenging process of safely reopening businesses, BakerRipley is ready to rely on Smartsheet to help with new community needs.

“When BakerRipley executed the Rental Assistance Program for Houston residents in partnership with the city, we were ready to adapt and implement Smartsheet,” Cepon-Geier says. “Once you find an effective tool, it’s much easier to use it to support other areas of our work.”