The Feldman Family, Nourish Now Volunteers
Thanks to the Feldmans (Debra, Darryl, Aviva & Reese) for sharing their experience volunteering with Nourish Now in Rockville, Maryland.
What is the mission of the organization?
Nourish Now has two primary goals: ending hunger and ending food waste. Nourish Now recovers food from local restaurants, markets, caterers and farms and redistributes it back into the community to families in need. Nourish Now also provides meals and other needed items to youth groups, elderly care, shelters, food pantries, and other like-minded organizations, strengthening Montgomery County’s food assistance sector as a whole.
Why did you decide to get involved with this organization?
The thought of neighbors in our community not having food on the table is very difficult to comprehend. Food recovery, specifically recovering and redistributing fresh meals, fruits and vegetables directly to families who need it most, was a smart and obvious solution for our family to participate in. We started volunteering in the warehouse, sorting donations and preparing meals for daily client pickups. The kids got to see how much food would otherwise be thrown away. We all saw the faces of adults and children who were thankful to be receiving restaurant quality and farm fresh food, a major step away from canned donations. Our efforts were realized instantly when we saw people leaving with 3-5 days worth of fresh food.
How would you connect the work this organization is doing to a Jewish text, holiday, value or experience?
Jewish tradition is explicit about feeding the hungry and caring for the poor. The work that Nourish Now does focuses on food insecurity and making sure that those who are in need can get fresh food. It should be noted that not all food insecure families are poor; some people run into hard times related to illness or lost wages. It may be temporary. Knowing that there is free fresh food available helps to lessen some burdens.
Who or what has inspired you in the work that you are doing for this organization?
After searching on our own for a volunteer opportunity, Cristin at Charity Connect recommended Nourish Now. Being able to contribute to ending hunger by simply recovering un-used restaurant quality food is a win-win. End hunger by ending food waste. This can be done anywhere. An obvious circular solution.
Share a story that has happened with this organization that has inspired you.
As a result of our time in the warehouse, we now spend Thursday nights recovering food as a family. Every week, we go to our local Panera after it closes and recover the breads, pastries and baked goods, that were not sold that day. We bring them to Nourish Now, weigh and sort them for distribution on Fridays. We call it Feldie Family Time.
What has surprised you about working with this organization?
The amount of fresh food that is being thrown away on a daily basis is shocking. Even more shocking is that this model of ending hunger by providing food that would otherwise be trashed is not being mirrored in other locations. Every supermarket, every restaurant, every caterer--anywhere--can be helping in this effort. It is a win-win for everyone.
What are some non-monetary ways for others to get involved in this organization or cause?
Volunteer in the warehouse by sorting donations and delivering food boxes which include a 3-5 day supply of meals for each family. Sign up to recover food from restaurants and local markets. Start your own canned food drive at your place of employment or school.
To learn more about Nourish Now visit https://nourishnow.org/