I got a little emotional today — which is not an unusual occurrence these days but lemme splain.
Six years ago this coming February I started what would become Helping Feed Atlanta by rescuing a 40 lb box of donated potatoes from a Whole Foods Market. Malachi’s Storehouse was the recipient and it felt good. Soon I was collecting from six Whole Foods Market’s and it felt even better.
As my non profit grew my eye was on the biggest produce department in Atlanta — Costco, the holy grail. By this time I had a team of volunteers because it got way too big for me alone.
After three years of incessant calling to Costco up and down the corporate ladder, I found an advocate in its Issaquah, Washington corporate headquarters. He liked what HFA did and we were reliable, picking up six days a week. Two years later, Costco’s regional VP asked me if I could pick up at all their Atlanta stores. Again, too big for me so I set up a meeting with Atlanta Community Food Bank to see if they would consider partnering with HFA. They said yes.
But then I thought about the 470 other Costco’s throughout the US and thought the best organization to partner with for this next chapter would be Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, and I even mentioned my idea to the Atlanta Food Bank.
In the meantime, life happened and I got sick. I’ve had to rely on my volunteers to keep things going and they did, never missing a beat.
A few days ago I got a call from Pastor Norman Stevens Sr., a good friend — he and his family are HFA’s longest serving volunteers. He let me know that soon we wouldn’t be able to pick up from Costco. Another organization would be taking over — Feeding America.
Today I called my connection at the Atlanta Food Bank to see what’s going on. He said it’s true. I asked, “Just the Atlanta Costco’s?” He answered no, that they’ll be picking up nationwide. (This is when I got emotional.)
I wanted to make my case to continuing pick ups at the first Costco because the original food banks I delivered to (Malachi’s Storehouse, Toco Hills Community Alliance and JF&CS Atlanta) have grown to count on HFA. I might be sidelined for a while but I’m not done yet.
BTW, there are 197 additional Costco’s worldwide. Hmmm . . .