By: Eliza Yoder
Unlike our drivers, our client service coordinators, or our dietitians, those of us in Food & Friends’ Development Department don’t have a lot of direct contact with the individuals who receive our services. It can be easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of office work, budget goals and data entry, forgetting the stories and faces of the clients who give meaning and purpose to the work we do.
To combat this disconnect, as a department, we adopted our own delivery route. Each Thursday morning two of us collect the groceries and prepared meals packed in Food & Friends red bags and head off to deliver literally to our neighbors –clients who live near our facility in Fort Totten.
After three years delivering to individuals on this route I feel a connection to the area and to our neighbors in North East DC. I know the streets and houses of clients whose doors I have knocked on, and who I’ve stopped to chat with and had the privilege of being thanked by. Each delivery outing reconnects me to the mission of Food & Friends and reinvigorates the time I spend at my desk.
I was fortunate enough to experience earlier this month what I consider a quintessential Food & Friends moment while on deliveries. One of our clients was receiving a birthday cake in her meal delivery that day. I noticed the label on her bag as I walked up the steps to her door. When she opened the screen and greeted me, I asked, "Do you have a birthday coming up?" She looked at me with surprise and replied "Today. How did you know?" Her eyes welled up when I let her know we had baked a birthday cake for her and it was in with her meals. I don’t know how old she was turning – 65?…70? - I wish I had asked, but as I wished her a happy birthday on the first sunny day in weeks, she smiled at me and said, “I am just happy to still be here.” And at that moment I was so thankful to be even just a small part of making that birthday wish come true.