Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Little Heroes: Food Share Tour

For our latest Little Heroes project, we decided to contact our Community Food Share in Longmont and ask what we could do to help.  They gave us a couple of options, and each of the families in our group are participating in different ways, depending on the age of their kids and flexibility of schedules.  Sue Ericson, the volunteer coordinator at the Food Share gave us two options that would  be appropriate for the age range in our group:  1) To volunteer any Tuesday afternoon, year round (drop in) or 2) to help with their annual pre-Thanksgiving food drive. (There are many more volunteer opportunities for older kids and adults so if you are in the area and interested in getting involved PLEASE check out their website).  Since each option suits each of our families differently and since those of us who will help with the food drive will be doing so separately, we decided to set up an official tour of the Food Share, so we would have something we could all do together.  We  also thought it would be a nice way to make a connection for the kids..to tour first so we could talk with them about who we are helping with the food drive and where the food goes.

We went on the tour today and it was so great.  Sue was so kind and great with the kids.  They were all really interested and I think we all learned new and thought provoking things.  Personally I was struck by the amount of food they are able to gather from grocery stores on a daily basis that would otherwise, I assume, be thrown away.  The grocery stores donate stuff that is perfectly fine but that can't be sold (mangled cereal boxes with perfectly sealed inner bags, etc) and volunteer drivers go around to each store every day to collect the donations.  Unfortunately, I can't remember the number she gave us but the amount of food donated per day in this way is pretty impressive.  I immediately pictured communities where there isn't a food bank to donate to..that's a LOT of discarded, perfectly good food.  Another tidbit I found interesting was that about 1/4 (something like 2 billion pounds) of their donated food comes from Horizon Organic.  Makes me glad I buy their cheese on a regular basis!  Always nice to know you are supporting a company that does great things...lastly, but certainly not least, Sue told us (as we were booking our time slot for the food drive) that without a person at the door of the grocery store handing out bags and encouraging people to donate to the drive, they collect 1 bag per hour.  With a person there (a "greeter"--what we will be doing) they get 10-15 bags of donated food per hour and that 2 volunteers, greeting for 2.5 hours can bring in enough food to feed a family of 4 for more than 2 weeks!  Pretty amazing.  If you are interested in helping with the food drive, it's going to be November 11th-21st, 24 hours/day.  You can email Sue and tell her what grocery store is closest to you and what time/day you would be available.  Please consider helping out, even for just 1 hour--every little bit helps!

If my Little Heroes posts (see also Baking for Firefighters and Project Linus) stir any inspiration in you, please think about starting a Little Heroes group of your own.  Don't worry about a how many people join your group or how old your kids are...even if they don't "get it" now. I firmly believe that if we continually do these kinds of things with our kids, it will become second nature to them as they grow older.  In the meantime, it certainly doesn't hurt to have a reason to be doing this sort of thing more often as adults.  If you have 2 families in your group, that's 2 more families doing awesome things regularly than there was before you started your group so more power to you!  If you do start a Little Heroes group, please share your thoughts and experiences with us so we can share ideas and encourage and inspire each other (I can just see it--a national Little Heroes movement!).  If you are in the area and would like to get involved with our group, please let me know.  There is no financial or time commitment, I would just add you to our email list so you can be aware of upcoming  projects and participate when you can/want to.  I also just created a Little Heroes Facebook Page so please "like" the page and pass it on--let's spread the word and get people motivated!

Here are some photos from our tour today--again, I strongly encourage you to reach out and help with the food drive or volunteer at the Food Share.  They are doing such wonderful work and are incredibly welcoming and appreciative of any help you are able to give.

Learning about how they load food on and off the trucks

The massive scale they use to record the amount of donations they receive.  Sue weighed this motley crew just for fun.

Another scale.  While Sue was talking to some volunteers, I looked over to see the kids quietly talking and experimenting with how they might be able to change the number on the scale  by sitting, crouching, standing etc....

Sue showing the kids how they separate the 100 lb bags of beans they get into 1 lb bags


  1. Great post, Sarah! Thanks again for organizing! - Maggie, henry, and Maya

  2. Thanks for joining us, as usual guys! XOXO

  3. It was a great experience - thanks for making it happen, Sarah!
    - Maureen, Neil and John

  4. What wonderful learning experiences you are providing for our precious little ones. Thank you for nurturing good citizenship.
    -Grandpa B

  5. What a wonderful way for little ones to learn about sharing food and thinking of others. As grandmother to two of your tour attendees, thanks for showing this important lesson to them.