What is my purpose? If you’re like me, at some point in your life you’ve wondered how you could impact the world in a positive way. While searching for a fulfilling project, I met a wonderful gentleman who had founded a successful food rescue organization in Hilton Head and was interested in starting a similar group in Atlanta. Along with the help of a close friend, we three got to work building Second Helpings, a food rescue project assisting people in our community.
With job descriptions, organizational charts and statistics in hand, we introduced the project to the congregation we belonged to. Congregants were easily motivated to join the fight against hunger and food waste. Volunteers stepped right up to the plate. We ordered supplies and t-shirts, trained our new volunteers. and established ourselves in the community. We approached schools and restaurants, asking them to donate their leftover food. We also visited social service agencies and shelters around town, assessing their needs and abilities to accommodate fresh food donations. The first agency we partnered with was the Community Assistance Center; our first food donor was Holy Innocents’ School. Second Helpings officially launched in 2004 when we began rescuing excess food and delivering it to those in need.
As our work got underway, we were astonished by the tremendous amount of fresh, nutritious food being thrown in the trash. Although our network of volunteers, food donors and agencies grew, so did the need for food. With 20% of the people in Georgia living in a food insecure environment, we had to do more. Second Helpings broadened our reach by soliciting food donations from grocery stores, wholesale co-ops, farmers markets and event facilities. The pounds of fresh healthy food we rescued and delivered to our partner agencies and shelters set records each year.
Second Helpings Atlanta
In 2013, we established Second Helpings Atlanta, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. With great enthusiasm, our board of directors grew all areas of our operation. We invited religious institutions, schools and corporations to join us in our fight. We now have over 500 volunteer drivers, 60+ food donors, and 30+ partner agencies serving rescued food to people seeking assistance. By early 2017, we have rescued over 6,000,000 pounds of food. We are neighbors helping neighbors, and we were changing lives.
Helping others truly is a blessing. Whether you are fighting hunger, building bridges between faiths, helping the downtrodden, protecting the innocent, or doing whatever it is that is meaningful to you, you CAN make a difference in the lives of others. Whether you are 80 years old or 8; whether or not you have physical or mental challenges; even if you don’t have a penny to your name, it doesn’t matter. I urge you to find your own way.
I assure you that by doing good, you will get even more back in return!