Community Gives Us Our Sense of Belonging
If the Pandemic has given us a gift, it would be that we all belong to something bigger.
At the core of what we do at Food Finders are people committed to a mission that serves others, serves our planet, and serves the communities that we live. We know that everyone in our community is important and we want each and every person living here to feel like they belong. When everything across America shut-down when COVID first hit, the Food Finders team was essential. Coming in each day to receive donations from essential grocery stores our deliveries grew. The growing list of local food pantries also were growing but somehow everyone felt a part of something greater and more beautiful despite the panic of a virus.
Food Is Much More Than Survival
We know that food is more than donated items in a box. Put together with love, care and a a few spices, food donations become a meal. And meals matter.
When a meal is prepared there is thought, process and passion behind its preparation. Someone taught you how to prepare this recipe. A memory of a grandmother pouring salt into her hand and telling you, “This is just enough.” Pictures of a holiday gathering with family and friends who were oooing and aaahhhing over the smell and the taste of something you spend hours preparing. Food is the piece of our lives that brings people together. We eat it at the table sharing the stories of the day or we gather together to explore new experiences. We learn about the process, the country of origin, the unique culture, and the people behind the spice and recipe. Food is much more than survival which is why it was and still is essential in our lives. Food Rescue Heroes know just how true this is!
Across America We Share Community
Last week we were contacted by the Last Mile Food Rescue in Cincinnati, Ohio. They connected with us over a football game that was coming up on Sunday (you know, that really big game that uses roman numerals!) Rams vs Bengals. An exciting opportunity to reach out 2173 miles to say: “Hey, we are both committed to food rescue in our communities. We both use the same Food Rescue App. Our Football teams are rivals and competitors but let’s partner and share in the excitement that is filling both of our communities this week”
Our goal was to connect the dots of what we do. People who overcome sleet and snow to deliver food to a critical food pantry, or volunteers in LA who have to navigate six-lane highways with the sun glaring directly in their face while the GPS directs them to a local non-profit. Sun or snow we are all committed to the communities we serve because in those communities live real people in need. People we can help. And if we can help people get the nourishment they need today, we know that tomorrow they can do better in school or feel strong enough to gather with others. Food is nourishment but it is also the essential part of our lives that creates belonging. We have a duty to ensure that everyone is fed something healthy. That is what this new partnership is all about.
How Can We Help One Another 2173 Miles Apart?
I called a community merchant group in a town about one hour from Cincinnati. I explained to the group that during this week before the Super Bowl I was going to bring awareness to the excessive amount of food waste from the game, from tailgate parties, and from our families sitting at home. “About 40 tons of waste is generated during the big game,” I told them. “That is about the size of the average blue whale.”
Between the “Wows” I then asked them if they had ever heard of the Last Mile Rescue. They had not. “Its too far,” said one member of the group. But the Bengals in the Super Bowl? Oh yeah, they all knew all about that!
“Guess what?” I asked them. “Did you know that the Last Mile Rescue from Cincinnati Ohio and Food Finders from Los Angeles, California are both food finding heroes?”
The room was silent. Heroes? I explained who we were and what we were doing in our communities. I explained how just sharing the mission of their local food rescue hero could bring critical awareness and possibly millions of meals into food disadvantaged communities. It was then that the magic began.
“There is is food pantry in town.” one person said. “Oh yeah,” said another. “I heard they are helping so many people in town since the Pandemic.”
“What if all the shops on Main Street did a food drive?” asked another. “Maybe do one each quarter instead of just collecting a few items at Christmas time.”
“My son lives in Cincinnati. I wonder if he could volunteer his time?” The room exploded in conversation.
This is how community partnerships work.
We Are All Connected
February is #BlackHistoryMonth and the vision that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had for our nation still resonates.
“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”
Working with the Last Mile Food Rescue has already brought me so much joy (and the Rams haven’t even beaten the Bengals yet!) It is all in good fun and no matter who wins, we have made a connection that will impact our communities even more.
If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate
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