I grew up in a rural area. There was no place for people to be begging. I was in my 30s before I saw my first beggar. I was out for a girls’ night when I was several months pregnant with Sue. The group of us had gone to dinner and were walking around the city area. Everybody decided to get some ice cream. I didn’t really want any, but I got a small dish. Baby said there was no room for it. So I started to throw it away. I had taken 1-2 bites. A guy, grabbed it as it fell and said “can I have it?” I stuttered yes and was changed forever.
I have always been a giver when it comes to food drives, toy drives, book drives. You name it. I grew up very poor. We benefited from people’s generosity more than once. But the ice cream experience was different. How do I get truly involved now?
Hubby and I talked about it more than once. I wish for anything I could go back to that night and take the guy to get a real meal rather than eating my leftovers. I’ve known since that day our family would be getting involved. We just had to wait a bit for the girls to get old enough.
I volunteered at Gleaners Food Bank right before Christmas for a few hours through work. I talked to the volunteer coordinator and found ot my girls were now old enough. She has worked with kids as young as 20 months!
This last week we made up fliers for the neighborhood asking for food donations to take with us. The girls were thrilled to find a few bags for us to take.
Yesterday we loaded them up and off we went.
Miss Sarah taught us that food insecurity affects 1 in 5 people. And that the people aren’t all on the street. They can look just like us. Last year Gleaners distributed 40,000 million pounds of food to food banks, schools, senior centers, soup kitchens.
The 943 bags we packed will go to kids throughout the metro area who are food insecure. The box of cereal, cans of veggies, fruit and ravioli will go home with them so they can eat when school isn’t in session.
If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity contact Sarah Blight at firstname.lastname@example.org at the Gleaners Oakland Distribution Center.