Author Archives: Stephanie Miller
Next week is St. Patrick’s Day and at Roadrunner we’re celebrating by reflecting on what we’ve done during the past year to be more “green.” Everything we’re doing to save energy, food and therefore money, might surprise you. We call all of our efforts in this area our Green Initiatives. Baler we use daily to prep 284,000 pounds of recyclables in 2013. Recyclables include items such as cardboard, plastic, paper, etc. By far the biggest thing we do that is “green” is food rescue. While some of the food that we acquire is brand new, most is food that a retailer or wholesaler doesn’t want to sell to their regular customers. We say we “rescue” this food because it would otherwise go into landfills if retailers, manufacturers and growers didn’t have us to give it to. In 2013, we rescued, or facilitated the rescue of, almost 23 million pounds of food. Next time you are at the Food Bank, we’ll show you what this food looks like. Most of it is beautiful, fresh, nutritious food. What we can’t use we compost, which is another Green Initiatives activity. After feeding people, “food rescue” is probably the most important service we provide because here in America we throw away a shameful 40% ($165 billion’s worth) of all the food we produce.
As 2013 comes to a close we tend to think back over the year and remember the things that happened in our lives that were the most meaningful. Often it’s the negative or difficult events that stand out the most. That’s just human nature because we are hard-wired to be problem solvers I think. I’ve also read (probably in one of the magazines that pile up in our house each month) that for any experience, regardless of its duration, we most strongly remember whatever feeling we had about it during its final minutes. So for example, if you have a tough workout but end with something that is enjoyable, like a gentle stretch or praise from your trainer, your overall memory of that session is pleasant, even if your muscles were screaming for most of it. Here at Roadrunner Food Bank we have an end-of-year opportunity that will be sure to make your overall memory of 2013 a good one. Between now and the end of December, Lovelace Health System is helping us double every gift we receive up to $33,000 total. That means that a donation has twice the normal impact. If $50 normally allows Roadrunner Food Bank to distribute 250 meals, with Lovelace Health System’s generous help, we can distribute 500 meals, which should make anyone feel pretty good. I can’t think of a better way to end 2013 on a positive note than by helping to feed twice as many hungry people. I hope you and your family will finish 2013 with the kind of positive events that are destined to become good memories for many years to come. Stephanie Miller is the Director of Development at Roadrunner Food Bank.
Working at Roadrunner Food Bank gives me the opportunity to see multiple acts of kindness every day. For example, this past Friday and Saturday we welcomed 600 volunteers over two days for Make a Difference Day. We had people not only repacking rice, beans and cereal, but also doing things like cleaning our trucks and raking up fall leaves in our parking lot. Everyone was industrious, cheerful and willing to roll up their sleeves for us. This is an annual, city-wide event that is a big deal for us each year because we rely on volunteers to make our work possible. (picture of volunteers repacking bulk items at the Food Bank)
For a long time now if you went to our website you would see that we proudly display the emblem that shows we have received a four-star rating, the highest, from Charity Navigator. A few months ago Roadrunner Food Bank received the much-coveted accreditation from the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance. What exactly are sites like Charity Navigator and the BBB Wise Giving Alliance? They, as well as several other sites, are independent charity evaluators that seek to provide donors with a means for determining the worthiness of non-profits they are considering supporting. They typically cull data from things that are publicly available like our IRS 990 Form, annual reports, audited financial statements and website content. By looking at things like our accountability, transparency, Board governance and programs, they distill a lot of complex information into a simple ranking system, like one to four stars, or a bronze, silver, platinum rating.
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of working at a US Postal Service substation for the annual National Association of Letter Carriers’ Stamp Out Hunger food drive. This is the largest single-day food drive in the country every year and it relies on all kinds of people to come together to pull it off. From the hardworking Letter Carriers who fit the food collection into their normal hours while on their routes that day, to volunteers who give up part of their Saturday to stand, schlep, sort and sweat, to Food Bank staff who put in an extra day that week, to the US Postal Service who approve delivery of the collection bags and use of their facilities, to sponsors like Campbell’s Soup Company and AARP and the coordination of our national organization Feeding America and, most-importantly, to donors across the country who take the time to put food out that day.