Life has a way of taking us places we never saw ourselves going, but where always belonged. That’s because life is full of opportunity. It is our decision to leap or stay the course. For close to twenty years, I worked as a journalist. This job afforded me the opportunity to witness every facet of humanity. The ugliness of the world. The lowest points of life for the best people. Things you couldn’t shake when you closed your eyes at night. But it also exposed me to the beauty of the world. It showed me the resiliency of the human spirit. It was often in those dark moments that the brightness came out in people. Working in news brought me to the next phase of my life.
I had the opportunity to cover Food Rescue twice in my career. I was deeply impressed with the mission and the passion behind the work. Never in my wildest dreams did I think an email would pop up years later, opening the door for me to roll up my sleeves and do the work. Food Rescue not only allowed me to reinvent myself, but it also allowed me to once again witness the kinder side of the world. People who truly wanted to do good, help people and do the right thing. Food Rescue allowed me to simply show the way and hopefully inspire others to keep the mission rolling and growing.
I want to tell you what Food Rescue really means to me. What kept me going when doors were being slammed shut. When people didn’t see that feeding people shouldn’t be that hard. Last year, we produced a video from our student leaders, or Food Rescue Warriors, perspective. During the shoot, a young boy, maybe eight or nine years old, came up to me and said, “Do you want to know why I think Food Rescue is great?’ Of course I did! He told me that his family didn’t have a lot of money. That some of his cousins had to go to food pantries. He told me they didn’t have enough at home to help but Food Rescue gave him the chance to make a difference. “It feels really good”, he said. THAT is what this is all about. Yes. It is important to feed people in need. It is important to respect our earth and teach children waste doesn’t make sense. It is also about empowering kids. Showing them what IS possible. This child never had an opportunity to give back because it was always assumed he needed to receive. We were showing him his worth and that, no matter what, you always have something to give. I think about him every single day. You see, I truly hope we changed his life, regardless though, he certainly changed mine.
As I prepare to close this chapter of my journey, I hand it off to capable hands. I know Food Rescue will continue to spread. Hearts and minds will be touched and forever altered. I know mine has been. I am forever grateful for this incredible chance to make a difference in my community. To educate, to feed, to love my neighbors a little bit more. Spread the word, friends. No one should be hungry. Kids should know there is a better way. Kids deserve the chance to make a difference too.
While my work will not end here, it is once again time to be still and listen. Time to see where my path will lead. I will take this opportunity to snuggle my young boys a little closer. Be more present in their fleeting childhoods. I hope our paths will once again cross and together, one person at a time, we can make the world a better place. If nothing else, always remember this: when you hear the call or feel the pull of change, just leap. You might find yourself right where you were always meant to be.
Jennifer Carmack Brilliant