What did we know back in March? What did we know about what was coming, what to expect, how long COVID-19 would last and how impacting all this would be? In the time of uncertainty and so much difference in our lives, many of us adjusted, changed our way of life and began to assess our global situation.
After a few weeks, we began to feel the gravity. We began to understand that this was a longer process than we could have imagined and we began to understand the potential impact on so many lives and businesses. And within myself………in a completely new way of navigating days, I found time and space for re-directing, reflecting and re-thinking what I wanted from this time.
A good friend had done a post about her volunteer work with Feed the Fight Kalamazoo . I hadn’t heard of it, but upon doing some easily found research……..it made so much sense. I didn’t want to come out of this time without trying to do something that helped, somewhere. In all of this, and all of the changes we were facing, I didn’t want to see the other side and not feel like there was something more I could have done.
From the first point of contact, the team involved with FTFK was responsive. As I filled out my form, I wasn’t sure what I could or would do, but I had a place to start. Sally Hadden was the first person I talked to. With a warm voice and generous spirit, she took my information and welcomed me to the team, with information about what was next. Immediately, I was welcomed into a Zoom team meeting with the entire communications team. With Jodi Michaels leading the conversation, I was on my way to inclusion into a well-organized, friendly and giving group. Adam Strong-Morse was quickly in touch about meal delivery schedules and the wheels were well in motion.
From the ability to help with some social media, to signing up to be a driver; every person I encountered was a delight………and all in it together. All in it to Feed the Fight . To help local restaurants facing unbelievable challenges while providing meals to our front-line healthcare workers. This ………..felt like helping. This ………was a small way for me to contribute and make this time mean something.
The first time I picked up meals was from Kazoopy’s . The meals were well packaged and looked delicious in a safe and organized system. It felt so rewarding to head to the 911 Dispatch Center and drop healthy lunches for all the people working on adjusted schedules and extra hours. I may not have known who was getting the lunches, but I knew a restaurant got funds they wouldn’t have generated in the time of shutdown and good people doing exhausting work were being cared for.
The most memorable meal pick up was from Premium Authentic Tamale Kitchen on Sprinkle Road. The family who so efficiently prepared and loaded up my car were emotionally connected to the purpose. With other family members who are front line workers, they knew the value of giving something back to the community to help. They made me want to frequent their business, recognize their service and encourage others to be aware of the quality of their work and the heart behind it.
When dropping off at the Family Health Center in Milwood, I was moved when I asked how many health care workers FTFK was serving there(the whole staff!). The huge number of people whose lives had been impacted, not just by the potential illness and the shutdown; but by the increased work demand, really hit home in that conversation.
With weekly meetings to talk about progress, developments and plans; the number of restaurants who participated and the number of meals delivered became so much larger than what I could have imagined. This team of organizers is a well-oiled machine and something I have felt really lucky to be a small part of. We’ve all missed our restaurants, and I know so many of us have worried for their economic health. In addition, we knew our friends and neighbors were being asked to give more than many of us, in terms of work hours and risk. To find an opportunity to reach out to both restaurants and health care workers, and to watch Kalamazoo shine in one of the many ways it does, was more than I could have asked for when seeking an opportunity to help.
All of the volunteers anddonors to Feed the Fight Kalamazoo may never see the faces of the people they helped, and we only saw them behind their masks, but I hope they know………….it made a huge difference in a really tough time. If, and when, this caring help is needed in the coming months, the group of people and the system created by FTFK will still be that soft place to fall for restaurants and frontline workers. The focusmay shift for a bit, but it will continue. And, many good people will step up again to help, Feed the Fight Kalamazoo .