I recently attended a food distribution with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). I had no idea what a huge event it would turn out to be.
I showed up shortly after the distribution began and the line was already all the way down the street and starting to wrap around the corner. Families of all ages, races and religions came to receive fresh produce and groceries for the week. People waited for hours just to get through the line. Most people came prepared with little carts to haul away their groceries. I could tell that some had even walked from their homes to stand in line and receive food.
The distribution mirrored a well-oiled machine. Several volunteers had come out to help disseminate groceries to those in need. As I handed out each bag of cucumbers, (my assigned food,) I looked at each and every face that went by. It struck me that every single person had come on their own time to feed themselves or their families. As a Sacramento resident for the past 10 years, never did it occur to me that so many people struggle with food insecurity. The children in particular really tugged at my heart strings. I have fond memories of going to the grocery store with my Mom on a weekly basis to pick out ingredients for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it occurred to me that these children do not have the same luxury.
Towards the end of the day, a young man came through the line. He did not have a cart to carry his groceries in and did not speak English. He took anything he could carry in his arms. As he progressed through the line, I could see his arms filling up and wondered how he would manage to carry everything home. We made eye contact and all he could muster was, “help.” It absolutely broke my heart because I knew that was probably the only English word he knew. With the help of one of the SFBFS volunteers, we offered him a cardboard box to fill up with groceries. Even that small interaction made me feel like I made a small difference. I don’t think he knew how to say, “thank you” in English, but I could tell by the nod we gave to each other as he continued to make his way through the line.
For those of you who are thinking about volunteering in some capacity with SFBFS, I highly recommend attending one of our food distributions. It is a very humbling experience and will certainly make you greatly for all the blessings you have in your life. To find out more about volunteer opportunities or ways to get involved, visit www.sacramentofoodbank.org.
Submitted by: Elise Hawkins, SFBFS Communications Officer