As the Communications Intern for Food Link, I often work remotely from the organization, basing my posts and writings off of photos taken by volunteers. I am told countless stories of the community that Food Link is building, but even when I get the opportunity to volunteer for a morning and see this community in action, I am in awe at what Food Link has helped to foster.
My most recent excursion with Food Link began at Trader Joe’s, where the usual Monday crew spent a few minutes asking the TJ’s employee about his newborn daughter. This was not a quick hand-off of goods but an example of the long-standing relationship Food Link has with Trader Joe’s.
After filling the van, our first stop was Drake Village, an Arlington housing development for elderly and disabled residents. Food Link delivers to Drake Village three mornings a week and they have the delivery down to a science. As we pulled the van up, we were immediately greeted by a welcoming committee who began shuttling food from the van into their meeting room. There was an immediate sense of camaraderie and purpose as the residents sorted food before allowing additional residents to “shop” for that morning’s groceries.
Back at the Arlington Food Pantry, a volunteer and I sorted through hundred of oranges while discussing both of our first semesters in graduate school. We were so engaged in conversation that we didn’t notice how much time had passed as sorted through sticky oranges!
A mid-morning pick-up at Whole Foods halted our orange sorting. Four of us arrived at Whole Foods to sort and organize 50 boxes of produce, prepared foods, dairy and bread. Returning once again to the Food Pantry, we were greeted by more volunteers, more food, and more sorting.
Throughout the morning, I was constantly amazed by the high level of energy, excitement and congeniality. I am so proud of the community Food Link has established, from the grocery suppliers, to the community partners, to the all-important volunteers who make it all happen. The Food Link community is truly a family!