I had the privilege of serving on the board of a local food pantry for 9 years (the maximum under the bylaws).
Our goal was simple: “That all might be fed.”
(I still serve on its fundraising committee.)
That service taught me many tremendous life lessons:
I worked and volunteered closely with people from economic and cultural backgrounds very different from my own. I was even invited to an Islamic colleague’s home for a traditional meal.
I saw the depths of poverty of the working poor, even in my own overtly prosperous suburb.
I learned the meaning of “food insecurity” by speaking with people who lived with it. I had never experienced that terror in my own life.
My board service also reinforced another life lesson: the power of saying “thank you.”
Each fall, the pantry’s board members personally called virtually every donor.
We always made clear, at the start of each call, that we were not soliciting funds, or food donations.
What I loved about those calls, however, were the reactions.