Hunger Through the Eyes of a Driver - Capital Area Food Bank
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Hunger Through the Eyes of a Driver

By Shamia Holloway December 4, 2015

This is the story of a CAFB truck driver, Michael Joseph, as told to Shamia Holloway.
Driving for the Capital Area Food Bank for the past five years has opened my eyes to the tremendous need in our area.  My daily routes take me throughout D.C., Maryland and Virginia – picking up donations from major retailers and dropping off fresh produce to our partners.  When I drop off my deliveries, I see long lines of people waiting for food – people with jobs and people who don’t look like they’re in need, all lined up.  The struggle can be seen everywhere.
I get the chance to see a lot of new things driving the CAFB truck, so when my supervisor asked me to fill in for a vacationing staff member and drive the CAFB’s newly converted Shopper’s bus for a week, I jumped at the opportunity.  It was my first time ever driving a bus and I was kind of nervous. Nonetheless, I was looking forward to a new challenge.
This past summer, the Shoppers Bus delivered lunches to hungry children living in Prince William County and made four daily stops.  On my first day, I made it through the first two stops feeling pretty confident about my bus driving capabilities.  At each of the two stops, the kids were waiting for the bus when I arrived and I served them lunch, talked with them for a bit and proceeded to the next stop.  But when I got to the third stop, a trailer park, I lingered.  There was a make-shift playground with kids playing barefoot because they didn’t have shoes.  The trailers were very small and old. This was my first experience seeing real poverty.
When I pulled up, the children swarmed the bus like birds and wanted to know my name. Was I “the new bus driver” and “did I have candy?” One boy, who everyone called Buddy, took a particular interest in the bus and wanted me to show him how all the buttons worked and where the lunches were stored.  I let Buddy push the buttons on the bus and showed him the refrigeration.  Over the course of the week, Buddy greeted me every day and he got me out of my shell.  Instead of just delivering the lunches, I played some soccer and football with the kids, talked with a few of them, and even participated in a water balloon fight.  I met Buddy’s mom and some of the other families as well.
The Shoppers Bus is a great idea and helped get lunch to children and families who clearly lacked resources.  I enjoyed my time driving the bus and met some great people, especially “Buddy.”  I would love to drive the bus again if I’m needed.  But I probably wouldn’t participate in any water balloon fights.