Operation Feed is the largest annual donation drive for the Mid-South Food Bank.
On my way to the Operation Feed Finale Awards Ceremony that was being held at MLGW (Memphis, Light, Gas & Water) I got lost. The ceremony was being held at its downtown headquarters but I parked and entered the MLGW building across the street, where its payment center is located. While on the elevator down from the parking garage to the payment center, I eavesdropped on a conversation between a couple that was coming in to make payment arrangements and hopefully reinstate their utilities, which had been shut off. Their primary concern was the comfort of their two children and they contemplated what could be done in the event this problem wasn’t solved before the children got home from school.
My heart went out to this mother and father. It’s one thing to experience hardship as an individual; it’s an entirely different thing to experience hardship as a parent and attempt to shield your children as best you can from the pitfalls of life you know they will encounter, but you don’t want them to encounter just yet. Before we all exited the elevator I politely chimed in, suggesting that maybe a trip to the mall would help pass the time as they waited for the situation to be resolved. “Wolfchase has the best air conditioning,” I shared and for a few moments our laughter interrupted the tension that had been present during our brief ride. “My shut off notices were always pink,” I explained to them, reflecting on some of my days in Los Angeles when the bills were far bigger than the paychecks. We all exited the elevator and went in different directions: they were en route to seek help during this time of hardship; I was en route to celebrate those whose contributions make help possible in such times of hardship.
Because so many suffer in silence, we are often unaware of how dire a situation has become for a family until the tangibles are affected. When necessities such as food provision and working electricity become heavy burdens, families are left no choice but to break their silence and hope that their calls for help will be answered. The Mid-South Food Bank has been answering these calls since 1981 and, as was implied during the ceremony’s introductory speech, the season of suffering does not discriminate.
“You never know who it is that needs help. They could be sitting next to you at church or next to you at the movies.”
That morning I sat at in a room with representatives from organizations that were vastly different in what they did but who shared the same immense desire to help eliminate hunger in the Mid-South. At my table I sat in between an employee of The Cochran Firm and an employee of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. There were attendees representing the City of Memphis (public sector) and attendees representing companies such as International Paper and Yuletide Office Solutions (private sectors.) All of them had worked individually to meet donation goals and were now gathered collectively to celebrate the success of having met those goals. According to Mid-South Food Bank’s Communications Manager Andrew Bell, “this year’s donations from 104 area businesses and organizations resulted in over 10,000 meals for food insecure households in the Mid-South.”
A new season is approaching. Fall will begin, as will numerous annual drives and efforts to help those who are less fortunate- particularly during the times of Thanksgiving and Holiday Celebrations. But hunger is not seasonal and the Mid-South Food Bank operates year-round. We don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks or until Christmas to give gifts. There is no better time than now to do both.
If you would like to donate to the Mid-South Food Bank, please visit its website at www.midsouthfoodbank.org. To learn more about how your company or organization can be part of Operation Feed, please contact David Stephens at 901-497-1153 or firstname.lastname@example.org Photo: Andrew Bell
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