"For I was hungry and you fed me."
Matthew 25:35 Life Application Study Bible
When Reverend Anna left a phone message asking if I would write a short article about "Why the Food Bank is important to me," that was the first thing that came to my mind. And I guess it really is that basic. Man (mankind) needs food first. I don't ever remember being hungry as a kid, but I do remember how thankful my parents were when people brought us a Christmas Hamper shortly after we moved into our one room log house in Fort Fraser, B.C. Wow! As the expression goes, "I've come a long way, Baby."
And I now have the opportunity and ability to give back a little bit.
After I finish my 4 hour volunteer shift about every second month at the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank (C.I.F.B.), I really feel good! I feel like I have done something tangible to help feed the less fortunate. (I know many others on the St. Laurence roster feel the same way.)
There are several things about the C.I.F.B. that I really like. First, it is Inter-Faith. No judging. No squabbling. Just satisfaction. "I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters; you were doing it to me." Matthew 25:40.
Another aspect is that they value and recognize their volunteers. They have a free Volunteer Appreciation and Long-Service Recognition Dinner every May. And they have annual volunteer Thanksgiving turkey and pot luck appreciation lunches and evening snacks. At times they even have free on-site 15 minute massages.
The Health and Safety Policies of the C.I.F.B. are enforced "to help everyone work more safely." You really have to be aware of the forklifts and pallet jacks. And on the personal side, if I can't lift the heavy boxes of cans, they have younger and stronger people who will do it as soon as I raise my arm.
The C.I.F.B. is a massive but extremely well run organization. Last year 146,947 Calgarians received food from an emergency food hamper and 42% of them were children. They distributed 17,909 hampers for the homeless and 5,361 baby hampers. Last year 4,379 volunteers gave an incredible 112,330 hours. The statistics prove to me how my small effort can help so many people in their basic need.