I’m grateful for all of the community members, family, and friends who have reached out about the upcoming food drive! Like in past years we’ve held the food drive I’ve also had neighbors call me to tell me that what I’m doing is self-righteous and that I’m not doing it for the right reasons. These calls always throw me for a loop because the person on the line usually will not allow me to explain why I do this. Then, once off of the phone, I gather my thoughts say a gratitude phrase, and wish them well. I’m hoping maybe one of those folks read this and take the time to learn why I do this.
Why I host food drives:
Food insecurity is something that I had to grow up with as a child. My mother always made sure that we had food, but sometimes that meant that she would go without. When I became a teenager working for AmeriCorps, things were much more scarce and as a part of the program, we were allowed to sign up for Federal food stamps. This was incredibly helpful as I was making less than $18k/year and we would get a $200/month stipend.
During my second round of AmeriCorps, I moved to Lake Tahoe, again making much less than it cost to live there, around $22k/year. Living in a community where there were shoulder-seasons, and the working folks barely made enough to keep roofs over their heads shocked me into reality. This reality was that without food banks these folks would simply go hungry. Families, whole families would go hungry. I remember volunteering at the food bank so that I could take some food home with me. During these volunteer sessions, I met some of the most interesting and kind-hearted people. Some were there in the same boat as me and some were there because they wanted to give back to their community.
I now do this because I CAN contribute. It’s not for my business, it’s not for exposure; it’s because I’ve been in those shoes, and I want to give back as much as I possibly can so that my neighbors do not have to worry about food insecurity. Food insecurity is something that I used to hold a lot of shame around. You never know who is in need, so just be kind to everyone. Be a good person, and do good for your neighbors.