To quote Dr. Seuss, the people I met at last night’s “Let’s Get Social” event at Community Plate’s new home is the best phrase I know to describe the experience I had.
Last week’s post was about wanting to share experiences from other runners I would meet and eventually have their voice fill the pages of this blog. However, I think I may have set higher expectations of what volunteers thought I wanted to hear when I talked with them.
Although Kevin had an amazing experience (http://communityplate.wpengine.com/blog/2011/08/11/delivering-out-of-the-ordinary-opportunities/) and was able to see how food he dropped off to the Open Door Shelter became dinner that evening; I came away with a richer experience from the volunteers at the Let’s Get Social gathering.
Every person I talked with was excited because they knew they made a difference. Whether it was dropping off food to shelters, or delivering bins from shelters to donors, everyone knew and understood what they were doing made a direct impact in someone’s life.
What amazed me most was how people found out about Community Plates. When I went to the first volunteer meeting in July 2010, there were a small handful of volunteers. Last night the room was filled and every person I talked with heard about CP from a different source. Janine told me she found out about CP through an article in the Connecticut Post; Katrina through talking with Stephanie Webster (CT Bites) while working out at the gym; and Terry, a brand new volunteer, signed up with her friend, Diane, who read about CP through Backyard Humanitarian.
I also learned from many of the volunteers they have made their runs into a family affair. Some bring their husbands and others bring their children because they want them to understand the importance of doing work that makes a difference for those in need.
At the end of the evening, I left knowing people can and want to make a huge difference in stopping hunger in our area. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that through the efforts of CP runners, $316,072.50 in food was rescued in under 7 months (most of this was accomplished between September and December 2010). Just imagine how much money CP will rescue in food at the end of 2012 with its expansion into Westchester County, NY, New Haven County, CT, Columbus OH and Albuquerque, NM!