By Kevin Drabinski, Chief Executive Officer
There’s nothing subtle about being hungry.
The need for food is part of the human condition. Everyone knows how it feels when you don’t eat for 10 or 14 or 20 hours. You may get impatient, anxious, or distressed, or a combination of all these things. And so, 1 in 6 people in our county community will experience something like this throughout the year. The inability to afford to purchase food pangs the body, but it strikes a blow to one’s self esteem as well.
If we put ourselves in the place of the 30,000 individuals who receive groceries and produce every month from the SLO Food Bank Coalition there are many inglorious tales to tell.
In general, we all feel for a child who goes hungry and lacks the fuel it needs to recreate properly. We feel for seniors who have to budget a set amount each month and may have to prioritize health or housing needs over adequate nutrition.
And, we certainly feel working families, who experience the strain, emotionally even, of not being able to provide. These are dire circumstances in which so many of our neighbors find themselves for a period of time.
But before the story gets too bleak, you notice the counter balance in response to this situation:
The SLO Food Bank Coalition enjoys the support of over 3,700 key volunteers every year. And when you see these women and men go about their business, and the way the carry themselves, you’d have to agree that they do this work with a righteous spirit.
Folks who volunteer in the warehouse, in the fields on gleans, in our nutrition education outreach, and at our distributions, are people full of hope. In response to a slow simmer crisis in people’s lives, they also bring creativity, enthusiasm, and a sparkle to the whole affair.
The clearest testament to the commitment of this county community to provide food for everyone comes from these volunteers and the people who otherwise donate and advocate for our mission.
There’s something about the graciousness characteristic of our donors, advocates, and volunteers that carries over to the food that gets distributed each month to our neighbors. I think that caring counts in this regard.
And if I could make one report from the field it would be that our recipients say thank you almost every time with a sincerity that humbles you. So hear that thank you loud and clear.
Hunger relief means holding a balance between the dire circumstances faced by our neighbors, and the creative and quiet selfless service that helps alleviate it. Your spirit of giving in support of our mission helps to feed SLO County in the most uplifting manner.