“About nine years ago I decided to do a community food drive for Beacon Ridge, a townhouse community where I have lived for many years in Walnut Creek. My community was totally supportive of me doing this. So, for the past nine years, I have led this food drive. I start with announcements and handouts at our annual meeting in the fall followed by postings at our mailboxes when the food drive starts. In addition, our homeowners’ association assists by sending emails to all members who have email addresses on file. We send an email notice when the food drive starts, one half-way into the drive and one with about a week left. This year we surpassed all years with donations of 381 pounds of food and $1,995 which translated to 5,305 meals. When we first started the food drive, we had many more pounds of food and less checks. Now we have more checks and less pounds of food. But, either way, what really counts is our total donation and the number of meals we can provide.
But one of the best highlights of this food drive for me is that it has become a family tradition for my grandchildren and me. Each of them started loading the food truck when they were just around 3 years old. They are now 9 and 12. At first they could only carry one cereal box from my garage to the food truck, but they never quit until the truck was loaded. It is so important that they learn at an early age that there are others who are not as fortunate as we are, and this is our way of helping others and making a difference. So every year, for nine years, they have come to my home the night before the Food Bank picks up the food. They look forward to Joan Tomasini coming with the food truck and loading the food into the truck. She has watched them grow up.
In addition to the holiday food drive, in the summer my grandkids and I have also volunteered at the Food Bank sorting food and loading it into boxes. By doing this they get a broader picture of what the Food Bank does.
This undertaking is a wonderful tradition for my family that we all look forward to with smiles and warm feelings. My goal is to keep doing this for as long as we can. In addition, it is a wonderful tradition for my community who always ask if I am going to do the food drive for another year. They are tremendously supportive and competitive to try and beat their contributions for the previous year.”
We thank Judy for being our guest blogger and for all the work she does for the Food Bank with the help of Beacon Ridge and of course, her grandchildren! If you are inspired to hold a food drive, visit foodbankccs.org/fooddrive. It’s easy to get started!