With Spring Comes Inspiration
Recently I had the opportunity to participate as a mentor at the St. Louis Business Journals 10th annual “Mentoring Monday” event. This event takes place in many cities across the country, as a way for leaders to speak with, and impart wisdom, lessons learned and advice to younger leaders, aspiring to grow their futures. I agreed to participate and was prepared to “inspire” talented future leaders. What I was not prepared for was the inspiration I gained through the experience. The outpouring of gratitude and support that was shared was truly inspiring. So many of these emerging leaders wanted to ensure I knew how grateful they were for their experiences while volunteering with their companies at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
They expressed gratitude because they appreciated the opportunity to give back. They appreciated the efficiency of our operations and how well organized our volunteer center operates. They loved leaving with an “impact report” about the difference that they made during their volunteer shift. I was humbled as we cannot do what we do without the individuals and organizations that commit tens of thousands of volunteer hours every year, helping us support and strengthen communities across the 26 counties that we serve.
I was grateful for a gentleman that, upon hearing that I worked at the Foodbank, immediately asked – “What do you need? How can we help? Things must be hard right now”. I was humbled by a young woman who shared that her family needed to utilize the services of a food bank growing up, and how she was always grateful – not just for the food that kept her family fed, but because they never left feeling “badly” that they had to ask for support, but instead felt loved by those who provided it.
This made me reflect on a recent story and video that we posted on social media from one of our amazing lead volunteers, Tim Morrison. Tim has volunteered with us for years and has done some pretty amazing things in his life – but he wanted to share his story about why he chooses to serve at the Foodbank. He first shared his story with our Board of Directors as our guest in October, and more recently, sat down and shared it with our team so it could be shared more broadly. If you haven’t watched his story, I would highly encourage you to take a few minutes now: https://youtu.be/ygfmhXyO8X0.
Everyone that works at the St Louis Area Foodbank knows that we provide so much more than food. In Tim’s story, he talks about dignity – and how the Foodbank provides, restores and grows dignity across our region. It is a powerful, personal story – and one that brought tears to our eyes. It reinforces how special this organization is, and how everyone that works, volunteers, and supports the Foodbank truly is making a difference in the lives of others.
We find ourselves in a very challenging time. We have many more families currently seeking help due to inflation, and the Foodbank is experiencing significant decreases in both food donations, and financial support. It takes a community to support a community –and as we have always said, “hunger can affect anyone – but anyone can affect hunger”. My hope in sharing these sentiments and Tim’s story, is that you would be inspired, and then take a moment to reflect on how you, your company, your family, your friends, or your organization might consider impacting those in our community through your support of the St. Lous Area Foodbank. You can visit our website at: https://bit.ly/SLAFB-givenow and join us, as we strive to provide food, hope and dignity to children, families, and seniors across the bi-state region this spring.