It may be easy to quantify and celebrate what we do in pounds and in numbers, but Food Finders’ true success can really be found within our partner agencies. They are the ones on the front line, helping feed the hungry in our communities. Their clients may be homeless or they may be working poor. They may be people struggling with addiction or illness. They may be seniors living below the poverty-level. Or they may be children who need a place to go to after school. Whatever the face, the help is the same – providing food or a daily meal; a basic resource that most take for granted.
So how do we find each other? There’s a saying around our office that there are NO “coincidences”. We laughingly call it God’s helping hand, good karma or positive vibes…but these so-called coincidences are really just the natural outcome of a shared purpose. What makes Food Finders strong is that we are out there connecting the dots between food that needs to be rescued and people who need rescuing. Our agencies are not faceless. We have been there when a food pantry literally finds that one last bag of food for that last person who just walked-up to their distribution line. I have been out to pay a visit to a church who tells me they desperately need diapers, only so come back to our office and find that a one-off delivery of Pampers has arrived and is sitting in our warehouse. We’ll have an agency call us to say hello and to ask if there’s any food in their area to be picked up – and then we’ll hang up with them to take a call from a food donor who happens to be around the corner from the agency, calling with fresh prepared food to give away.
Here’s the thing: amidst the accolades and celebrations, we can’t lose sight on what it is we are here to do…help our agencies. These organizations take pride in serving their clients. And that’s what they call them: clients. The level of respect that they have for those they help is astounding. Go see a distribution take place, and you’ll see staff greet people by name and ask them; how is their family doing? Did their son start preschool? Did they get that second job interview? And as much as they love seeing these people in their lines or at their tables, their greatest achievement comes when they don’t see them anymore.
You see, our agencies do a lot more than just feed the body…they feed the soul too. Whether it’s a shared prayer or blessing from a Pastor or support and direction from a Case Manager – these partners of ours help because they want to. I’ll never forget a story from one of our church agencies…they had a client who was a gardener who had fallen on hard times. His truck and all of his equipment had recently been stolen. He was in a desperate place – and he needed not just food but also a purpose – something to do every day when he woke up. As it turned out, the church’s lawns and sprinklers were in disarray, and this man not only got them in tip-top shape but he also planted a vegetable garden. This garden continues to flourish today, long after this gardener got back on his feet, thanked the church, and went on his way.
To-date we have over 275 active recipient agencies – 48 have been brought on-board just this year. As we find ourselves immersed in middle of the Holiday Food Drive season, we look forward to continued success with our partners and we appreciate how hard they work to help the people they serve.