My current project is fantastic. It’s been interesting, challenging and the people aren’t assholes – truly a Christmas miracle of sorts. As a consultant, I have seen it all. I have dedicated half my life increasing the bottom line for clients – rarely has there been time to give back to the communities in which I work and live. It bugs me.
Most of my projects fall within the various aspects of Oil and Gas operations. The one thing to love about this industry is that they generally give back to their communities in a meaningful way. At least the clients I like and respect. There are a few bad eggs out there – as I mentioned – I have seen it all!!
Back to the point of this post, the week before Christmas, my most awesome client gave their employees a half day to give back to the Houston community. As one of their business partners, they generously invited us to attend with them. I WAS ECSTATIC to participate!!
Their charity of choice was the Houston Food Bank. Sadly, I lived in Houston for 13 years and never really knew what the Food Bank did. We have one in Denver as well. So, I took the liberty of taking some FAQ’s from the Houston Food Bank website, to help educate what an organization like this does.
What is a food bank?
Essentially, a food bank is a non-profit organization that collects and distributes food to hunger relief charities. Food usually comes from various sources in the food industry, like grocery stores and wholesalers, that have thousands of pounds of food to give away – food that could otherwise be thrown away.
They warehouse the food, and with help from volunteers, sort, pack and redistribute it to the community. Traditionally, a food bank does not distribute food directly to those in need.
Who gets the food?
Their partners are responsible for determining how the food is distributed to individuals in need. Each year, 800,000 people are fed in the state of TX.
What kind of food is given away?
The Houston Food Bank puts high priority on making wholesome, nutritious foods available to their partners. Much of what they distribute is fresh produce, dairy products, fresh meats, and other refrigerated and frozen products. Last year, food for 104 million nutritious meals left their docks; that includes, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, fruit juices, and many other types of nonperishable foods.
There are various ways to volunteer with organizations like this – below is just a sample of opportunities:
Community Kitchen: Volunteers help prepare meals for various programs. Work may include prepping food, cooking, cleaning, and other duties.
Office Support: Assist with mailings, non-solicitation phone calls, filing and/or other miscellaneous tasks.
Warehouse: Volunteers working in Distribution will help pull and build agency orders using warehouse inventory. Dock volunteers assist partner agencies with loading food and help sort product in our Fresh Food Center. Volunteers working in Reclamation will inspect, clean, sort, and box items received through food drives and grocery rescue for distribution to clients.
What did we do as an organization on one of my most favorite days of the 2019 year?? We worked the reclamation process and LOVED every second of it. In 2 short hours, we sorted enough meals for 11,000 people! It was soooo cool and so much fun to do with my team and client. We all walked away with our hearts full and a sense of community. I NEED to feel a sense of community.
I found a staggering statistic from the “Feeding America” website that In Colorado alone, 596,150 people are struggling with hunger – and of them 177,360 are children. 1 in 7 children struggles with hunger.
I hate this statistic so hard.
SO, I have decided that every year going forward in Denver, I will gather as many people as I can to volunteer at our local food bank as one way to give back to our community. It didn’t take a lot of time and the personal rewards FAR outweighed the 3 hour investment (if you include the drive time!).
2020 will be a year that I give back more than I have before….now to find a few volunteer opportunities to jump on….in addition to the Food Bank :-).
……i choose this….