One of the best things about the last three years of being part of developing a food-rescue platform is that I’ve had the chance to perform many food rescues myself. When I tell people who are toying with the idea of becoming a Community Plates food runner, “try it once and you’ll want to do it again and again”—I speak from experience.
The benefits to the almost half a million food-insecure people we currently serve and over 50 million we hope to serve are obvious, but
when I talk about getting “addicted” to food running I’m speaking more about the reward it provides those who performs the food-rescue; the volunteers themselves.
There is an intrinsic benefit built into the food-rescue process. In a word, it’s community. Now, I know the dictionary defines community as “a group of people who have something in common; geography, culture, interests etc.” , but what I have in mind is something more personal…more shared.
First of all, I look forward to seeing the people that I interact with on my regular runs, and I think that most of them look forward to seeing me. When I walk through a restaurant kitchen and give a shout-out to the crew there or when I’m hanging out briefly on the loading dock at a grocery store or market, it’s more than just familiarity that makes seeing each other enjoyable—it’s the ongoing-realization that we are sharing something or joining together in accomplishing something important.
I’ve heard from many of our food runners that for the first time, they are experiencing a real connection to the places that they live.
Most of us now live in places where we weren’t raised, so it’s easy to feel disconnected or feel like home is always someplace else. When you start noticing your neighbors —and even more, when you start actively caring for your neighbors with others, all of a sudden that “place that you live” starts to feel more like home.
Recently I wasn’t able to rescue food for a period of time and I realized that these generous people, our donors and partners—are important to my life, and I missed seeing them. They’re not just “nodding-acquaintances” that you may run into on the elevator every day, but these are friends that are working with me to make a difference.
Picking up food and making sure it gets to people who are struggling to eat healthy food regularly certainly satisfies a basic need for those being served, but it also satisfies a basic need for the one who performs the run – those dedicated food runners who fulfill our mission every day, in their own communities.
Join us in the food rescue revolution and make a difference in your community.