I had returned from the National conference for the Corporate Housing Providers Association in Fort Worth,Texas. CHPA's charity of choice, Move for Hunger, donated nonperishable food left by tenants to local food banks. Hunger is a big problem, but this small action seemed doable for our small business. So we joined the fight against hunger with little actions. Taking unopened cans of food left by departing guests to our local food bank, "Loaves and Fishes". Then I volunteered one morning at the food bank. Here is a chronicle of that day at the Food Bank in in my hometown.
8:30 Pick up students from my church to work at the Food Bank with me and my children
8:50 Arrive at the food bank.
8:55 Gary & Gisela Lenz, one of the coordinators, explain how to serve the customers. There are 2 programs at Loaves and Fishes. The people who present white tickets are with the program for the elderly. They receive one of the paper bags of groceries with a block of cheese provided by the South Texas Food Bank in Laredo, TX. People with the blue card register locally, and receive a recyclable bag (that can be purchased for 60 cents) full of groceries from local donors.
9:00 to 9:30 The doors open and the first wave of people come filing in. The elderly go to the registration table to get their white tickets, then come to me. After they put the tickets in a jar I’m holding, one of my young helpers carries bags out to their vehicles. People with the blue cards go to another table. One of three volunteers highlights “March” on their cards, and directs them to the recyclable bags filled with groceries. Another volunteer is directing his two helpers to assist the customers with bags of food.
9:30 The president of the Bank & Trust, Bill Cauthorn, comes by to thank the volunteers for their service. Mr. Cauthorn is a major supporter of Loaves and Fishes.
9:45 to 11:30 People continue to come in waves to get food. Gary has to bring 3 more pallets of filled grocery bags to me and my helpers because we have already given away over 170 bags of food in just 2 1/2 hours! A gentleman comes in, bringing donations from a local organization for the food pantry. When the kids aren’t carrying groceries out for customers, they help Gary unload the truck full of canned goods.
12 noon Our work is done. We set a record that day. Over 215 people served, with over 350 bags of groceries given away!
Loaves and Fishes, the name for our local food pantry, has served over 30,000 people last year with much needed groceries. Local organizations like the Bank and Trust and Laughlin Air Force Base, contribute time and resources to support the work done there.For the month of October, we are conducting a food drive. I'm excited about giving back to our community, and doing a small part to tackle a big problem. If you are in Del Rio, stop by and make a donation. This is our way of giving back to our communities.