As I sit down for dinner tonight, I reflect on the reality that many seniors and elementary age children are without food in our community. It causes me to pause and express to the universe my intense gratitude for my meal. My in-laws grew up in the Great Depression and knew what it felt like to be hungry. Since the day I met them, the refrigerator would contain foil wrapped bite size morsels of leftovers.
While that was over 91 years ago, “in the United States one in six children goes hungry at some point during the year. Translated into numbers, more than 13 million children in the U.S. live in “food insecure” homes.” - “1 in 4 seniors in Atlanta faces the threat of hunger. 100 baby boomers turn 65 each day in Atlanta.”
My heart aches, my emotions run the full spectrum and the harsh reality makes me want to scream - what can I do, as one person, to Make A Difference?
All I can say to myself, is “get to work my friend” - continue reading and you will learn about the journey that started last Spring. This experience became possible with the generosity of Isa Foundation, SERV International, Temple Sinai and Meals on Wheels Atlanta, the efforts of many - working together. Steven Covey teaches in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – “Interdependence is the paradigm of we – we can do it; we can cooperate; we can combine our talents and abilities to create something greater together.”
In March of 2019, I attended a fundraiser for Meals on Wheels Atlanta, a non-profit organization that provides meals to seniors in our community. Even at that, many seniors still go without food due to high demand. At the time of this article over 499 seniors in our community are on the “can’t wait list”.
The social hall was filled with attendees enjoying an ancient game called Maj Jong, coffee and snacks followed by a moving video and call to action. What could I do to make an impact? Immediately, I thought of connecting the Isa Foundation/Isagenix, the company that I partner with, to understand if they were able to help. Isagenix, located in Phoenix, Arizona is an international company whose mission is to “free people from physical and financial pain while at the same time being the most trusted and respected health and wellness company in the world.”
Timing wasn’t right in March, but my desire to “find a way” grew stronger over the months.
Fast forward to this past Fall. I attended services at our synagogue, Temple Sinai, for the most religious days of the year. A flyer was distributed that contained a brief paragraph about an initiative to provide weekend meals to elementary age children whose families cannot afford food when they are not in school - Backpack Buddies. Once again, how could I help? Is this a sign? What the heck? Just go with it.
I told myself” lead with your heart and you can never be misled.”
At an early age, I watched as my parents worked multiple jobs until they achieved success. They always found time to give back to the community- no easy task. Persistence, consistency and hard work are the foundation upon which I was built. I kid around that if you tell my mom “no” it only fuels her fire. Guess I have a bit of that too.
First, I contacted both Meals on Wheels and Backpack Buddies to determine that if I was able to secure donations, they would be agreeable to accept them. The answers were a resounding “Yes”.
I contacted the Isa Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Isagenix, whose “mission is to create global, sustainable impact through volunteer efforts and charitable contributions focused on healthy nutrition and support for underserved children, wellness education for all, and aid for those affected by natural disasters.”
Turns out a shipment of other donations for SERV International
(4th non-profit) was heading to Atlanta. Next thing I knew, the paperwork was in my email and the donations were on a truck headed my way. All I had to do was pick them up and deliver to the respective organizations.
On December 27th, my sister and I drove an hour North to SERV International. Steve Kasha and his staff greet us and were very gracious to load our car with the donations.
We picked up a months’ worth of meal replacement bars for Meals in Wheels and months’ worth of protein chips for Backpack Buddies. Yes.. you read it right donations for a month!! How incredibly generous!!
It is with immense gratitude that I am so appreciative to Isa Legacy Foundation for the donations, SERV International for aiding in the delivery, Meals on Wheels for helping our seniors and Temple Sinai-Backpack Buddies for supporting the children in our area.
A big thank you to all that helped make this possible:
- Lisa Ceballos, Community Relations Coordinator – ISA Foundation
- Steve Kasha, Founder and CEO of SERV International
- Kristina Prox, Director of Food Services Operations – Meals on Wheels Atlanta
- Tricia Rosenbaum, Volunteer – Backpack Buddies – Temple Sinai
I’d also like to thank the volunteers who packed 60 bags of weekend food for the children and approximately 250 breakfast bags for seniors.
Without their support, guidance and open arms, none of this would have been possible. Follow your own heart of service and see where it leads. Each of us CAN Make A Difference.
Love to hear your feedback – please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
P.S. If you would like to volunteer, please contact these organizations to provide support.