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  • I heard back from the lady (Susie) I worked for when I was volunteering at the Food Distribution Center (SERVE) during the furlough time. When I got called back to work, I had told her that I would be willing to make a Sunday morning run, picking up food donations at several supermarkets way out west of Manassas. These stores had all told Ralph, the guy who showed me the route and how to make the pickups, that they were throwing a lot of food away on Sundays, since no one was picking it up. So, I’d told Susie that I would be happy to do it. She had to set it up with the stores, and needed to know that I would be committed to doing it every Sunday. I told her I would, and would find backup drivers for those weeks that I’d be out of town.

    So, this Sunday I start my own route. I am genuinely excited to be doing this. It’s hard to describe how it felt to do that work during the time that I was furloughed – it just felt like it was the right thing to be doing. It also helped me to maintain my sanity and equilibrium during that strange time.
  • It fits in with several things that I believe – one, that no one should ever have to go hungry. There should be enough food in the world to go around to everyone, but because of the way that we live, and the way things have gotten structured, societally and politically, we have entirely too many people in the world going hungry. In my lifetime, I’ve really only had a small taste of what it is like to be truly hungry. There was a period where I was completely on my own for several months, without a place to stay and far away from anyone who could help, and I went several days without any food, more than once during that period. I can tell you, it is not a good feeling. The many other things that normally would occupy your thoughts or your attention quickly fall by the way, and basic sustenance becomes all you can think about. There’s a pit in the core of your being that just feels empty – because it is. It’s a truly awful feeling. I’ve only had to experience it a few times, but it’s one that I will never forget. No one should have to experience that, especially for sustained periods of time. But, sadly, millions do.
  • The other belief that this supports is my belief in sustainability, in greening. This belief has not come easily to me. I was not your poster child for leaving a minimal carbon footprint, believe me. I still am not, but I am at least more aware, and moving in the right direction. Part of what has helped raise my awarenes was being tapped to lead my agency’s Greening Initiative. It seemed like a joke at first. “You want me to do WHAT?” I knew I was not the best example of sustainable behavior. It took me a little while to really get it going, and to do what had to be done to get it off the ground. I kind of felt like I would be an imposter, doing that. But, eventually I knew I would have to do something, and so I finally embraced it and got it going. Consequently, I have learned a whole lot more about sustainability and green practices, and made major progress with the agency’s “Green Team”. One of the things that my Sunday morning runs will do is to help reduce food wasted. Each Sunday, I will fill that full sized van up with food that would otherwise have gone into landfills and slowly rotted away, there, and instead, bring it to a place where families in need of food and sustenance will come and be able to use it to feed themselves and their children. What’s not to like about that? That van will become my new Sunday morning “church”. That is how I will spend my time “worshiping” life on a Sunday morning. I can dig it!

    Besides – I just enjoy driving, especially when it’s not “commuting” type driving. It relaxes me. I do some of my best thinking driving. It’ll be a 40 minute drive to the warehouse to pick up the van, then the better part of the next 3 hours will be driving between the stores I’ll do my pickups at. They’re kind of scattered all over the far western reaches of the county. Perfect!

    (All pictures taken this morning, of trees across the street (1 & 2), next door (3), and in my front yard (4 & 5). I do love fall!)
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