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Whistle Stop Mobile Pantry

Photo courtesy of the Journal and Courier

Written by Kyle Fitzpatrick

I think any fair minded individual will grant that, given the incredibly busy lives we lead as members of such a modern and productive society, it is perhaps too easy for one to forget that there are still hundreds of thousands of Americans who have limited access to even the most basic of needs. I am, for instance, ashamed to admit that, prior to working at Food Finders, I was not fully aware of how big a problem hunger really is. And I thought myself to be a somewhat socially conscious person! Oh, how very wrong I was.

That being said, I am at present quite proud to say that I work with an organization that allows me to visit the frontlines of the battle against hunger every single week. On Tuesday afternoons, I am fortunate enough to be a part of Food Finder’s Mobile Pantry team. In Lafayette’s Market Square, we distribute food to hundreds of families and individuals in need. I am so very lucky to be allowed to meet such people. It enriches my life emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually like nothing else can.

While I of course am far from happy that widespread hunger necessitates the existence of the Mobile Pantry program, I am, as I hope you can tell, so incredibly pleased to be a part of it. I have learned so much! During my initial experiences with the Mobile Pantry, I was, for example, surprised at the incredibly wide variety of people that are in need of food. It is not an uncommon occurrence that I hand a loaf of bread to a woman in her eighties and then, after barely a moment’s passing, a bunch of bananas to a boy who has yet to blow out the candles on his ninth birthday cake. Sometimes I even get to provide said cake! Now that’s a feeling!

It’s also a good feeling to know that, despite the fact that hunger is an issue that is so widely unrecognized by so many, there are in fact tons of people who are aware enough to be willing to help. I interact with volunteers on a daily basis and I can confidently state that, without exception, each and every one has been amazingly helpful! I literally could not do my job without them. It gives me such great pleasure to be part of such a powerful force and to know that it is motivated to accomplish such great things. If I ever had any doubts about humanity, they are now long gone.

I wish there were a way for me to adequately thank Food Finders, those I’ve met through the Mobile Pantry Program, and the volunteers I’ve worked with for all they’ve taught me, but I’m afraid words cannot express my gratitude. In my mind, hunger has gone from a vague notion to a tangible issue, and for that I will be forever grateful to each and every person I’ve met over the last few months.