Friday, May 1, 2020
Food is love
The word meal is defined as the act or the time of eating a portion of food to satisfy appetite. At Harry Chapin Food Bank, we add the word love to this definition because we believe that food is love. Each meal that your food bank provides consists of many ingredients. The ingredients – funders, volunteers, community activists, retail stores, farmers, partner agencies, and your food bank team – are indispensable. Our recipe of working together may yield simple meals, but the love is rich.
Our funders are a critical ingredient in each dish. They provide the financial resources to fuel our fleet of trucks, to pay the salaries of our warehouse team, and to purchase food. Our funders are big and small, each important, each critical, each making a difference. We’ve seen communities develop creative fundraising campaigns, everything from Porch Portraits to golf drives. We’ve seen children make bracelets or fishing flies and give the proceeds of their efforts to each dish we serve. We’ve seen musicians put on concerts, and we’ve witnessed countless businesses offering a portion of their sales to fuel our mission. Many of our funders have offered their stimulus check or a portion of it. Gifts made in memory of loved ones, gifts made in honor of the front-line workers, gifts given to provide meals, all driven by love.
Community activists, retail stores, and farmers provide the actual food that our food bank serves. These ingredients have a local, regional, or national presence. Sometimes the availability of food is caused by a mistake made on the production line. Sometimes the availability of food is caused by an overabundance of produce. Sometimes the availability of food is driven by a neighborhood, school, or local business holding a food drive. Each shipment, trunk full or delivery, is a result of love. Someone made the decision to give the food to your food bank rather than having the food go to waste. Someone knew that their actions would lead to a family having a meal. Love drives donations.
Our partner agencies are our largest distribution points. Your food bank works with over 150 partner agencies throughout our five-county footprint. They are our partners, and we serve about 28,000 people a week through this carefully crafted network. Our partner agencies are points of love, as they provide a source of hope. They are trusted extensions of our mission to lead our community in the fight to end hunger. Your food bank takes enormous pride in how well our partner agencies have responded to the current crisis. Together we have faced countless barriers and unforeseen obstacles, yet together we are getting the job done. Love solves problems.
Your food bank team is multifaceted, skilled, dedicated, and determined to ensure that no one has to go hungry. Our two facilities, our distribution sites, and our trucks are sacred spaces. The work we do is nothing short of noble. Your food bank team is doing everything in their power, working overtime, and in some cases, creating miracles so that we can provide the food necessary to feed the staggering need. Love in action.
Our volunteers are love in motion. They give your food bank over 43,000 hours of service each year. The monetary value of those hours exceeds $1,000,000. Our volunteers lovingly sort produce, distribute food, and build food kits. Volunteers staff our front desk, help with data entry, or make protective masks. Our volunteers are an extension of our team, they walk alongside our food bank team. They see firsthand the bounty offered so generously by so many. They see the smiles on faces of the hungry. They offer of themselves, their time and their talents and most of all love.
As you gather with your family, or those who become your family, think of the love you share over a meal. Over a meal, stories are told, dreams are realized, lives are shared. It has been suggested that one of the silver linings from the pandemic is that more families gather and eat dinner together. It is inspiring to think of the love being shared. Its overwhelming to realize just how reliant our recipe is on the ingredients that make up your food bank. Your food bank is humbled by your generosity, your support, your volunteerism, your love. You provide us with the fuel to continue, to overcome the many challenges we face. Thank you.
We give thanks that this week we distributed 721,621 pounds of food. This means, that this week that we provided 601,350 meals of love. Food is love.
If you are looking for food, please click here.
To support our feeding efforts, please click here.
If you are well, able, and willing to volunteer, please sign up here.