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We woke up early and made the six hour drive to volunteer at the San Diego Food Bank. We are immeasurably grateful to Xavier Hernandez, Volunteer Coordinator at the San Diego Food Bank for making room for two more volunteers even though he had a full volunteer team in place (yay San Diego community!). The food bank is a huge operation with a huge mission. We helped box food that will ultimately be distributed to nearly 800 elderly citizens in the San Diego area.

For more information about the San Diego Food Bank, visit their website.

We stopped by Manna Meal to help serve lunch with the absolutely awesome team there. Huge thank you to Leslie, Camellia, and Jean for all of their graciousness and love and for all of the work they’re doing in their community. We’re so blessed to have spent time with them.

From their website –

Manna Meal soup kitchen serves meals to anyone that is hungry, no questions asked, at no cost, 7 days a week. Founded in 1976, Manna Meal Inc. is an independent nonprofit organization located at Saint John’s Episcopal Church on Quarrier Street in downtown Charleston. For the past 37 years we have fed over 1.30 million people serving approximately 380 people 2 meals every day. Countless in-kind food donations from local proprietors and individuals, as well as produce from the Manna Meal Garden, 4 full-time employees, 6 hourly workers, and 130 loyal volunteers keep Manna Meal Inc. operating daily. Our doors are never closed.

stvincentfeaturedI headed to St. Vincent de Paul in Cincinnati, Ohio to help with the food pantry. Joining me for the day was author/musician/Cincinnati native and one of my closest friends, Nathan Singer.

From St. Vincent de Paul of Cincinnati’s website –

For more than 140 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has quietly cared for those in need throughout Cincinnati and Hamilton County. More than 900 volunteers care for people in their own neighborhoods, visiting the homes of people in need more than 7,500 each year. In addition to providing immediate help with pressing needs such as food or utilities, we operate southwest Ohio’s only Charitable Pharmacy; seven thrift stores that provide furniture, clothing and household items to people in need; a comprehensive social service office; seven food pantries including the Edyth & Carl Lindner Choice Food Pantry in the West End; and the Ozanam Center for Service Learning.

We stopped by Second Harvest Heartland in the Twin Cities to help prepare food for distribution.

Before beginning our shift in their warehouse, we were given a brief orientation including a powerful video about hunger, the challenges faced, and how Second Harvest is addressing the issue in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Videos can sometimes be dry, recalling filmstrips from our elementary school days. The Second Harvest video was as far from that as it gets.

Here it is for your consideration —

From the Second Harvest website —

Second Harvest Heartland works to reinvent hunger relief through leadership and innovation. As the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization, our goal is not only to help our hungry neighbors today, but to provide the means for everyone to be fed tomorrow. We’re known for distributing great amounts of food quickly and efficiently; in 2012 alone, we collected, warehoused and distributed more than 76 million pounds of food—but we’re also constantly pioneering ways to reduce waste and better use the abundant resources available in this land of plenty.

Second Harvest Heartland is a member of Feeding America, a national network of more than 200 food banks serving every state in the United States. Membership means access to millions of pounds of surplus food and grocery donations from manufacturers and producers throughout the country.

Thank you to Kate, Megan, Brenda, and Dan for joining us!

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Be Local Everywhere visited the Open Door Mission in Omaha, Nebraska. The organization is doing a lot to help those in need from clothing to food to housing to life skills–they’re doing it all. Thanks for letting us see your operation! Big thanks to Steve Frazee for discussing the Mission and to Hannah who showed us the ropes!

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We stopped by the Denver Rescue Mission to help with lunch.

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We stopped by the Fairbanks Foodbank to see how the organization and volunteers were serving the community in one of our farthest flung stops so far. Like the other foodbanks we’ve visited along the way, we found an energetic and compassionate group dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of others and it inspired us to join in and help. Thanks to everybody in Fairbanks for being so warm and inviting.

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We visited the Oregon Foodbank in Portland, Oregon where we met a dedicated group of volunteers that not only work hard together, but also spend time together outside of the warehouse. They were a truly welcoming and loving community and it was hard not to immediately share in their spirit.

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I had an opportunity to visit the Idaho Foodbank in Boise to see their operations. Within that massive warehouse, there’s a lot of magic going on. In addition to sorting donations, I also had a chance to learn about their innovative backpack program that helps fight child hunger in school kids. This was such a beautiful experience and I won’t soon forget it. Such a loving and dedicated group of people.Big thanks to Teena, Mike, and everybody else there!

Idaho Foodbank on the web:
Website
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