Who is your favorite hero or heroine? The Caped Crusader? Super Man/Woman/Girl? Are you Justice League or an Avengers admirer? Perhaps you’ve heard that not all heroes wear capes. This has certainly been true since COVID-19 invaded and caused the worse public health crisis in a century. We now know for certain that not all heroes have capes – some wear scrubs and others drive forklifts!
We’ve heard about our frontline healthcare workers who indeed are our heroes. All the recognition and accolades attributed to them are deserved! Let me introduce you to some other heroes who I know. They show up every day regardless if the COVID-19 virus is spiking or not. They show up to make sure senior citizens and children who need food get some.
They are the men and women of America’s food banks and, most certainly of Michigan’s seven Feeding America food banks who serve all 83 counties. They rise each day with little regard to the own health to sort food, drive forklifts, load semi-trailers and drive to distributions where hundreds of cars wait in line hoping they will get food for their families. They rise early, they stay late, they sort, package and distribute food to all who need it.
The Food Bank Council of Michigan network has distributed 50% more food than before the pandemic, and some days it still isn’t enough. The average distribution statewide has grown from 2.6 million pounds to 4.5 million, and it doesn’t happen by accident. Our team members, professionals in food safety, stand in the gap – sometimes with PPE and sometimes without it – to make sure the food gets to the people who need it.
They serve, they give, and they’ve done so every day of the pandemic with distinction and honor. They know the people in our communities need them. So, there are no days off, no excuses, no missed distributions. If they were not there, they know a child somewhere in Michigan will go hungry. They are frontline workers, heroes all.
Our heroes have increased food distribution by 2 million pounds of food each week. What would our state look like if these seven Feeding America food bank teams were not on the frontline doing their jobs? Can you imagine?
I guess we all still need heroes, but today mine drive forklifts, trucks and sort food every day. They wear food bank shirts not capes, but maybe they should.