I would like to share a testimony written by Andy Kimpel. I hope his story inspires you as much as it did me!
Online Services and Communications Manager
Feeding the Community One Day at a Time by Andy Kimpel
I work for a pallet company based in Orlando called CHEP. Why is that important you ask? Well, it’s where My Story really begins. I got involved with food banking a few years ago when I was asked to coordinate our company’s interaction with the national food bank organization called Feeding America.
At CHEP, our pallets help transport millions of pounds of food products every day and the link to food banking was, and is, a very logical one. However, I had no idea what food banking was or how it worked. I had even less knowledge about who was getting food assistance or how prevalent hunger was in my own community.
Literally hundreds of volunteer hours later, I now have a much deeper understanding of food banking and how necessary it is, especially in times like these. I have gone from relatively zero engagement to almost daily activity locally with Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and nationally with the Feeding America team in Chicago.
I’ve found that the more I help, the more I want to help. SHFB of Central Florida is a member of the Feeding America network that includes 200 other food banks around the country. This insight at multiple levels is rare for someone outside of food banking operations and a better knowledge of the entire food bank supply chain gives me the ability to help even more effectively.
The local work I am doing has a direct impact on our community’s future. I have recruited friends and family into this effort and we know we are changing lives every day. Food helps people perform better in school and work, create new opportunities and provide hope in tough times. Food is a basic requirement for our survival and I believe we all need to work to ensure that everyone gets their fair share. It’s not about being righteous or moral or political or even having a higher purpose. Sometimes it is simply about helping someone to survive until tomorrow. That’s as basic as it gets. Helping people right here in Orlando is a big plus for my family and I. For us, this cannot be more of a win-win situation. By helping locally, I am actually improving my family’s quality of life by improving conditions in our schools and supporting our local economy.
At the national level, I am able to help coordinate truckload shipments of food into various food banks. I help food manufacturers and distributors understand how easy it is to donate and how we can all work to end hunger across the U.S. I also help numerous food banks across the country with the flow of goods and provide suggestions on how they can work most efficiently with food donors and with CHEP.
Most people reading this will never have to worry about where their next meal will come from. But thousands of people in our area will. And do. The current economy has boosted local food assistance needs up by 400 percent in some areas and I feel compelled to help. I’m not a banker, but maybe food assistance helped someone get their bills paid this month. I’m not a teacher, but maybe I helped someone pass the FCAT last spring. I’m not a doctor, but maybe I helped save a life today. All those maybes drive my efforts at the food bank.
Volunteering with SHFB of Central Florida has opened my eyes and made me aware that hunger is right here in our backyard. It has shown me that 24 percent of the people getting food assistance are children who need it to grow and thrive and keep our community moving forward. I have been given the opportunity to help solve the hunger problem and it is a really good feeling. That’s why I keep going back for seconds.
Article by Andy Kimpel
Posted by InsightMagazine