1. Almost two years ago, my parents approached a national organic grocery chain they knew might be open to donating the food they couldn't sell.
  2. I'm not really sure what gave them the idea--but it turns out, the store was working on reducing their waste, and after many conversations and meetings and meticulous planning, agreed to partner with my mom and dad by donating food every week.
  3. So my parents gathered some volunteers and put an ad in the local paper.
  4. They drove a box truck into town for the pickup. Then they drove it back to unload.
  5. Once everything was unloaded, the volunteers sorted and organized everything, and made signs indicating how many items each individual could take from a particular category.
  6. They worked hard to make the food look pretty. They cut cartons of eggs in half so each family could at least get six. If there was an item that he thought might seem unfamiliar, my dad cut it into little pieces so people could sample.
  7. The first week, just a few people showed up.
  8. Now, they consistently serve around 40 families.
  9. There are no requirements for participation. No information is recorded about the participants, they don't have to attend any sort of religious program, or class, or commit to working.
  10. They just have to show up.
  11. It is truly no-strings-attached giving.
  12. My dad gets really excited to do this. He loves everyone and just genuinely wants it to be a good experience. He wants to help.
  13. He has sometimes been criticized, even by his own extended family members, for "giving handouts."
  14. But he says, "who doesn't love a handout?"
  15. Also, some of the people who are served by the Food Bank have actually started to come early to help.
  16. And this is the best part, I think.
  17. And, p.s. if you come early to help, he lets you go through the line first. 😬😊
  18. Fifty-two Saturdays a year is a big commitment.
  19. But I've never seen him so excited about anything in my life! Except talking on the phone with me. He gets really excited about that.
  20. Also, I've decided that being surprised by someone you love, watching them labor for a really great cause--and enjoying it--is a very cool thing to see.