Generosity Multiplied - Capital Area Food Bank
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Generosity Multiplied

By Jeremi Mathis March 21, 2013

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit one of Capital Area Food Bank’s premier School Food Pantry sites at Orr Elementary.
I heard exciting things about the food distribution at Orr, and since starting my position at the food bank several months ago, I hadn’t had the opportunity to really see their hands at work.
So with conflicting schedules and an onslaught of meetings it has been my mission to get out of the office and back into school; words I thought I’d never hear myself say!
The distribution at Orr is funded through Meals for Minds, a community outreach project of Target stores. Target has sponsored Orr and three additional school pantries in DC for two years.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t so much their distribution that stirred my attention, but it was the character of one of the volunteers that opened my eyes to another aspect of serving the underprivileged.
His name is Bernard, and he has been volunteering at Orr for over a year. He’s the guardian of more than one student enrolled at Orr, and he himself benefits from the School Food Pantry program. He feels that because he is receiving generous help, he too should be giving back.
He orchestrates the drop-off while also assisting in preparing 10 lb.-20 lb. bags of food. Once families arrive, the bags are waiting for them. I have spoken with the families counting on this food, and they love what has been prepared for them.
Bernard uses the food he receives to feed his family – a family that extends into the community, to his church and beyond. He wants to make sure that anyone in need can partake in his fresh produce that may otherwise be neglected and shunned.
His “no food left behind” credo allows Orr Elementary to stand out among other food resource centers.
In fact, all the volunteers at Orr Elementary give you a friendly smile to take home with you, and back where I’m from we call that a little “southern hospitality.”
Here’s to Bernard and the other volunteer staff for running an exceptional food pantry. They prove that someone’s wealth is not found in their possessions but rather in their character.