A meal provides hope, but how do you provide hope in the midst of a global pandemic? There is no playbook for something like Covid-19. Suddenly, a number of our employees were working from home. Many days my daughter had to join me in the office. For weeks, it felt like each day brought more questions than answers. Throughout these last few months, whether at home or in the office, everyone at the Foodbank just tried to live by these simple principles: do your best to do the next right thing; be kind; stay strong; work daily to give people the one gift that has the power to brighten up even the darkest of days – HOPE.
Hope made waiting in line (sometimes for hours) worth it for people who have visited our network of food pantries or are currently receiving food for themselves, their families, or their parents. They have hope that when they get to the end of that line, they can receive the support they desperately need. They are treated with dignity, respect, a smile, and maybe even a virtual hug. They go home and no longer have to worry about their next meal.
I appreciate everyone who has supported the Foodbank’s mission while we have worked to provide hope to so many during these unprecedented times. Companies, foundations, and individuals have stepped up with financial support so we can meet the increased need for food to our network of more than 500 partners. Organizations have become temporary disaster partners to help increase access to food for area families. Individuals and neighborhoods have turned ideas into community-wide food drives. Volunteers have shown up at our facility and all over the bi-state region at our Mobile Markets to help out.
On a recent trip to Pinckneyville, Ill., I had the pleasure to meet a volunteer named Carl. His driver’s license may say that he’s turning 90 this year, but you wouldn’t know it if you had the chance to talk with him. He continues to show up to help out at food distributions just as he has for the past 27 years because he believes that the work that he does today will bring hope to someone tomorrow.
It’s remarkable how a simple little word like “hope” can provide the energy and motivation to take on a word like “pandemic” and make it seem a little less daunting.