BUILDING CONNECTION BEYOND FOOD
In the delivery logistics world, it’s called the last mile. It’s the final phase of getting a product in the hands of the consumer. That’s one way to think of our 200 partner agencies – they are our last mile.
They deliver the much-needed nutritious food we provide them to the hundreds of families that show up at distributions all over South Jersey. They are our last mile to reach children with after-school snacks and weekend meals. They are our last mile in helping seniors in our community deal with impossible choices between food and other expenses.
Recently, we celebrated our partner agencies at our annual Partners Appreciation Luncheon. I had the opportunity to guide them in an engagement exercise that had each table working together on a project.
We talked about how through this project, they needed to communicate with each other to get it completed. How, through community, they had to work toward a common purpose. And finally, they had to practice communion, by sharing, blending, and dedicating themselves to the whole group.
When our pantry agency leaders run a distribution, serving hundreds of families in need, I watch how they connect with our neighbors, through a hug, a joke, or just by listening. Their connection goes beyond merely handing out food.
We asked our pantry of the year leader, Dave Cornwell from the Friends of Clementon Food Pantry at St. Mary’s, what’s his secret. Dave said, “There’s a lot of passion that goes on here. The secret: it’s kindness. That all it takes.”
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for all the kindness our supporters and partners show our neighbors every day. Together they’ve joined the common purpose to truly change hunger in South Jersey.