Giving Back During the Holidays and Beyond

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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 LOVE this team! Yes, they are all young enough to be my kids!
A view of the sorting process
I had to take this photo for Sean so he would quit throwing everything away as soon as an expiration date is reached!

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….

Pam

32 comments

  1. Great post. I’ve always worked in the food distribution industry, always donating everything I could to Food Banks. The work they do is amazing, and I’m sure they are thrilled with any help. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Like you I never really knew what a food bank does, in the practical sense of things. Your post is wonderful and informative. Thanks for the look into something that is much needed, which in and of itself is sad, but thankfully they exist.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is wonderful. I’m a big believer in helping those in your own community . A saint once said when doing good works, start with those closest to you. There are so many people in our own towns, state, country who need help. The local food bank is a wonderful place to start. Needless to say I get sick of Hollywood stars flaunting their adopted babies from Africa when we have children in our own country who need help. But I suppose I digress a bit (but not really)!

    You’ve really been an inspiration here and I, too, take expiration dates with a grain of salt whereas hubby Dan reads them as if they were inviolable.

    Thanks for the inspiration. β€œLet it begin with me.”

    Susan Grace

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I love this so much, Pam! You rock!! πŸ™‚ We have a Feeding America distribution center not far from here. We also have a Rescue Mission that is a shelter and also provides meals. At Thanksgiving, there’s a 5k called the Drumstick Dash “move your feet, so others can eat” that raises funds for Thanksgiving meals. I’ve not been involved with either place, but this makes me think I should look into them.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love that chart. I hate it when people get all militant about expiration dates. There is SO MUCH food waste in this country – it drives me nuts. I’m also guilty of it from time to time when I clean out the refrigerator. Same with meds. I have way, way, way expired aspirin, say, that I still take. I figure at worst, it’ll be a little less potent. I once heard that unless it’s a lifesaving med, you shouldn’t worry much about the expiration date. I’m no doctor, so I can’t verify, but there’s probably some truth to it. Great post and very worthy cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the chart too. I agree with the wasting of food – I am guilty of it too. I buy all of this stuff and then leave town for work. Sean can’t possibly eat it all when I am away. Something to work on in the new year. Yeah, I heard the same thing with meds. I think I have had some Ibuprofen for 10 years! lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a fantastic project to participate in! Volunteering and helping others, be it your time, money, or energy, doesn’t just make the world a better place to be, it also makes you better. And, I think helping others shouldn’t be limited to the festive season only, there’s so much we can do throughout the year, and it doesn’t always have to have a price tag on it. Giving to others can be as simple as offering a single kind word, smile or a thoughtful gesture. Thanks for sharing, I’m glad you found meaningful activities to take part in, the world needs more people like you, Pam. Aiva

    Liked by 1 person

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