Some days are a grind when volunteering with Food For Thought. The “Bomb Cyclone” with 3’ of snow comes to mind (yeah, we delivered that week…). Every day volunteering at Food For Thought is a blessing. Seeing the little kids wave to us from their desks as we deliver bins of food to their classrooms always warms our hearts. And some days are just downright memorable. Today was one of those days.
To set the stage for why this morning was special, you need to understand that, like the rest of the world, we’ve been wrestling with Covid – the closures, the masks, the concerns…all of it. And yet we’ve kept showing up every Friday morning and delivering food. At times we’ve run thin on volunteer support, and for us Truck Crew guys and gals, that can lead to long mornings and endless laps of wheeling bins of food through school hallways.
Bob Bell and the Board brought several “regulars” together for a little planning session earlier this week. We met at Peak Resources’ HQ, and over a glass of wine or a beer, we connected with one another – away from our early morning duties of getting the food ready for packing – and found time to build friendships. There were people I’ve volunteered alongside for 5 years that I didn’t know their last name or very much about. For all these years I’d see them as we assembled in the pre-dawn hours under the bridge, give them a fist bump or a bear hug, then we promptly get back to our respective duties. Bob and fellow board member Vince DeRose shared their vision for how we can continue to grow Food For Thought. How we can work more efficiently, raise more awareness, and ultimately, get more food into the hands of more kids in need around Colorado. Lifelong friendships were established that evening. We all left proud to be part of Food For Thought and excited for what lay ahead.
This morning, folks started arriving around 4:45am Some of our regulars (Brian, Mark, JR, and Chris) had already been there for quite awhile and had already wheeled bins out to the curb in preparation for the trucks to arrive. Over the next hour, volunteers kept showing up. And many of them wanted to join us on the truck crew, to deliver the food out to the schools. By the time the first few trucks arrived, we had over 20 volunteers – more than double we’ve had all school year. And a large contingent of our support came from the leadership team of All Copy Products. All Copy has sent volunteers in the past, but with Covid, we hadn’t seen them in a few months. Bob had put in a call to All Copy CEO Brad Knepper, asking if they would be willing to send a few folks over from time to time to help out? Brad responded with a decision: “We’ll bring a crew to cover a truck load every week.” Wow. That’s a pretty big deal considering we typically only send out 4 trucks from our Downtown “Under the Bridge” packing site.
And so I got to work alongside Brad and his team: Jeff Sparks, Dale Scheuerman, and Troy Baranek. These guys came to work. By 7am we already had two schools done. And before 8:30am, we had completed our route. It’s rare to be done before 9:30am, but with 7 volunteers (we had regulars Geno Karbo and John Gall with us), we absolutely crushed it. The feeling of accomplishment and camaraderie from working together was amazing.
And then Brad invited all the Food For Thought volunteers back to the All Copy Products HQ for a chef-made breakfast party! In their beautiful building on the 5th floor, they have a full kitchen, seating for maybe 60 or 70 people, and a patio overlooking the city. Food For Thoughters mingled with All Copy staff, getting to know one another, while enjoying some killer biscuits and gravy, bacon and eggs. A hearty meal that was well deserved after several hours of pushing food bins around. Watching Brad and his team interact with both their staff and the many volunteers, it was cool to see their culture in full effect, and it highlighted their generous spirit and hardworking nature. As I left the party and said goodbye to Brad, he commented “We love being part of the Food For Thought team and want to keep doing more for this great cause!”
We’re blessed to have such wonderful supporters that are part of the Food For Thought family. Every week we get to welcome new members to our tribe. And because of that, we get to serve more and more children and ensure that they have food to eat over the weekend. So yes, we are all truly blessed to be part of something so incredibly amazing.