It came in a simple, plain envelope addressed to the Volunteers of River City Food Bank. As I opened it, the letter began, “I know you never hear from a person when things go perfect, but I am very thankful for this food.” The letter had the quality of a heartfelt prayer and went on to talk about the “beautiful” volunteer who interviewed her and “made my whole day!” as well as the “ASUM” food that she needed so badly. It was the first time this client had ever come to a food bank and she was so very grateful for the food and nutrition that she received. When people come to us for the first time, they are ususally very tentative. Many are embarrassed. Some are worried about the selection of food they need for their families. They are hoping for the kind of food that they would buy if they had the ability to go to the store. It is so good to know that this client felt validated in terms of receiving warm hospitality, respect and good food. Sometimes the smile and kind words received at River City are the only signs of respect that a person may receive all day. The food they receive may be the only healthy food they have eaten for over a week. And for us, it is all about health, nutrition and respect. Now that this letter has “made my whole day,” I am going to share it with the hard-working volunteers downstairs. Never underestimate the power of healthy food and simple kindness.
April 2, 2010