Green Doors Blog > It takes a village to feed a village

It takes a village to feed a village

Green Door's food pantryAs one of the several new faces at Green Doors, I’ve had many opportunities to learn about issues related to homelessness in Austin over the past few months and apply them to my work. So naturally, when the opportunity came about to spend some time working at our weekly food pantry, I jumped at the chance, knowing that I would learn something new that I could use in my role as a development associate.

Before I delve into my specific impressions about this experience, let me begin by letting you know something about me. Prior to joining Green Doors, I had very little knowledge about how serious the homeless issue is in Central Texas and its debilitating effects on an individual. Beyond that, I knew even less about the multiple underlying issues that can lead to someone becoming homeless, and how most of us are just one missed paycheck away from becoming homeless too. As a father and husband, I definitely sympathize with the parents in our program who have experienced the stress and heartbreak related to homelessness and poverty. Without question, my short time here at Green Doors has opened my eyes to some things I’d barely considered before.

So what does it take to feed Green Doors residents who visit our food pantry weekly?

Green Door's food pantryFirst, it takes a lot of food. And not just any food; it takes nutritious foods that lead to better eating habits and improved health among our residents. To that end, Green Doors Volunteer Coordinator Avalon Rehn goes the extra mile working with our Food Pantry partner, the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, to make sure our residents have access to sufficient amounts of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and protein, among other things. After all, healthier living plays a big part in happier, more prosperous living.

Second, it takes effort and a willingness by volunteers to perform the extremely important tasks of stocking our food pantry, bagging groceries and interacting with residents as they drop by our Food Pantry to receive their weekly supply of foods. This second point cannot be understated. Without the hard work and free time provided by our generous volunteers, our Food Pantry would not be able to support our residents’ needs anywhere close to its current level. To put it simply, they work hard, they work for free, and they willingly do this with smiles on their faces. For any organization with a tight budget, this is a godsend.

Third, it takes buy-in from our residents. At Green Doors, we firmly believe that our residents are best served being their own agents for positive change. Those who are able to transform their lives do so because they are determined to do so. By accessing the service Green Doors provides with its Food Pantry, residents are participating in making positive, healthy changes in their lives. And I’m not just speaking about the nutritional benefits our Food Pantry provides either. By accessing this free service, residents are better able to allocate their very limited resources to another part of their transformation, such as school supplies for their children, transportation, or going back to school to learn skills that will serve them and their families well in the future.

All told, my experience at the Green Doors Food Pantry allowed me to see a truly heartwarming collaboration between community partners, volunteers and our residents in providing one of life’s most basic needs – food. And while the ability to access healthy foods provides our residents with a needed and positive service, for the new guy at Green Doors, it provided much more … an eye-opening, educational experience I won’t soon forget.

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Diego Abeloos

Diego Abeloos joined Green Doors in March of 2011 as the organization's Development Associate. Prior to joining the Green Doors team, Diego spent more than three years serving as a Development Associate for the Family Giving Tree in San Jose, CA. There he was responsible for a variety of fundraising activities, including grant writing, direct mail solicitation, and corporate sponsorships. Diego also has extensive experience as a journalist and editor for several Silicon Valley based publications, including the Times Newspapers, the Los Altos Town Crier, and the Palo Alto Daily News. Diego holds a Bachelor's of Science in Journalism, with an emphasis in reporting and editing, at San Jose State University. Outside of work, Diego enjoys spending time with his family, watching sports and listening to music.

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