Anyone who knows me knows that I live by a simple philosophy – “no regrets.” Some may laugh when I say this because let’s face it, we ALL have “regrets” in our life. But I don’t mean the silly things that don’t matter, like that person your parents told you not to date or the money you spent on something you “had to have” that really meant nothing in the long run. I am talking about realizing that all of us – rich or poor – man or woman – all colors, religions, and orientations – only get one chance at this amazing adventure called life. When I say, “no regrets,” I mean “don’t let the fear of the unknown cause you to wonder about something for the rest of your life.” What if I HAD applied for that new job? What if I did take a risk on moving? What if I did go back to school? Why didn’t I spend more time with my family or friends?
These types of questions always seem to surface in January – when everyone is frantically making New Year’s resolutions that usually last a few days or maybe a few weeks. To those that carry out their resolutions and see them through – congratulations! Now, for the rest of us that wildly aspire to change EVERYTHING in one day in front of friends or family, let’s instead use this precious time to focus on what really matters: finding true joy and living our best possible lives, one day at a time.
Part of living your best possible life means helping others live their best possible lives as well. Many people struggling with hunger work multiple jobs and it still isn’t enough. Some have transportation barriers, health issues, cannot work temporarily due to an accident or job loss, or don’t live close enough to a grocery store to get healthy and nutritious foods on a regular basis, so they rely on one of our network food pantries for assistance.
My New Year’s resolution is to continue to serve our community with our amazing team of staff, volunteers, board members, partner agencies, and supporters here at the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
Together, we are literally providing millions of meals each year, but it’s still not enough. There is still much work to be done when it comes to collaborating with other incredible groups and organizations across our 26 counties to holistically support these families and individuals that are struggling. Often, hunger is just one of the issues they face.
I am challenging our region to work together in new ways in 2020. We need to worry less about who is getting the credit and worry more about who we can help if we just work together. We need to find new angles, new innovations and new ways to change perceptions, break cycles of poverty, and create new opportunities.
We are living in a unique time in an incredible region where we can be thought leaders and innovators to truly change lives – so what is stopping us? I mean it – what is stopping us? What could we do if we really came together as a community? How can we de-stigmatize the issue of hunger? How can we shorten the lines at our area food pantries? With nearly half a million people struggling with food insecurity in our region, how can we help give their stories a happy ending?
If you don’t believe me that by working together we can re-write the ending to someone’s story, I invite you to watch this short video about one of our incredible board members, Jim Moore.
Jim’s story is just one of the thousands in our area. He never thought he would find himself in need, but that’s often how hunger becomes the reality for so many. We’re all one life away from needing assistance. What are you willing to do to help someone like Jim in 2020? How will you help us help others, so they can get back on their feet and help lift someone else up out of poverty and despair?
As we all look forward to a new year with new adventures and opportunities, my hope is that as you make your list of resolutions, you ensure you will have no regrets about what you could have done in 2020. Instead, a year from now, I want you to smile as you reflect on your story and the stories of lives you helped change by living your best possible life.
Speaking of stories, tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.