L-R: Jeff Bohr, JJ Bohr, Raji Acharya, Octavian Bohr
When the Christmas spirit continues all year long, from one year to the next, you know it's real and lasting.
In all the years we (and every other food pantry) have been working to meet the needs of families who don't have enough food dollars to stretch, we pantries get stretched as well. It's a given that people donate their time, money and gifts of food in the fall season when Thanksgiving and Christmas are huge reminders that they have reasons to be grateful and generous with their resources. But surprisingly, people aren't just hungry in November and December ~ they get hungry the other ten months of the year, too!
And the Bohr-Acharya family gets it! They contacted me last year and asked what we really need and I gave them a list of things it’s hard for us to get. I also told them that it helps us so much when we can get a case of just one item as opposed to a variety of different items.
I explained our shopping list process. Every week we have a shopping list of available foods that our clients can choose from.
We have an average of thirty-five families coming every week. For an item to be included on that list, it means we need that many of each item on the list. Most canned goods come in cases of 12 or 24, cereal comes in 10-12.
Almost everything normally donated in the fall food drives requires a massive amount of volunteer time to sort and put into stock, because they are donated as individual items. So, when a family offers to bring items in cases, it means it can get to the clients right away without waiting for our stock to build up from one-off donations.
Throughout the entire last year, I received messages from the compassionate Bohr-Acharya family asking what I need the most, and they have purchased and delivered it to us ~ by the case! These much-needed items include condiments, salad dressings, crackers, and cereals, and just recently some hygiene items that are not easy for our clients to afford. All these things fly off the shelf in just one night when we are actually able to get them, and they are never available from the government. So you can see what a difference this made.
This year, just before Christmas, this wonderful family came and donated even more than usual, because Octavian and JJ wanted to share their own Christmas. They have no idea how much their gift inspired our volunteer crew. I saw more than one person with tears welling up when I told them of two teenage boys who sacrificed to make Christmas dinner better for so many families. This was one year when our clients had food we take for granted throughout the year.
A heart-felt thank you goes out to the Bohr-Acharya family. You are an inspiration to our crew of volunteers and you are making such a difference!