Profile Response: Rhonda Sanders, Arkansas Food Bank, Little Rock AR

HWWLT Logo on yellow“This is a concept of transferring food from people who have too much to those who don’t have enough.” Rhonda Sanders outlines the basic premise of the Arkansas Food Bank as she tours me through the 76,000 square foot facility that includes a bulk warehouse, a refrigerated warehouse, community rooms, clean preparation rooms, volunteer work spaces, and a small store. Sixty-five employees and over 10,000 annual volunteers accept food from a variety of sources and then store, sort, repackage, and redistribute it. Five AFB trucks deliver 25 million pounds of food to food pantries in 33 counties throughout central and southern Arkansas.

img_8516 img_8520

I appreciate the effort, as well as AFB’s focus on using its $8 million budget ($21 million factoring donated food value) effectively. On the Monday after Thanksgiving, coming off the busiest week of their year, the place hums with quiet efficiency. However, I cannot escape the sense that AFB is yet another lesson in how the United States shuffles ‘stuff.’ So much food; most of it recently available for retail purchase, some donated in food drives, about 10% of it USDA commodity; is now transported and handled and transported again in a secondary, ‘post-consumer’ process.

screen-shot-2016-12-22-at-7-15-23-amArkansas Food Bank is a marvelous facility that fills a real need the way our society is structured. But isn’t it too bad that those who require food – all of us – can’t simply get it, wholesome and fresh, at our local market?

 

How will we live tomorrow?

img_8524“How will we as a society live tomorrow? Am I having a positive or negative day? The sense I get at this point in time is that we will live selfishly.

“We’ll always get volunteers, but they are more selfish. They want to determine what they do, in a nice space, with a snack and with the friends they’ve made. Even when volunteering, it’s always self. People don’t look for a way to add value; they look for what’s in it for them.

“That’s how society evolves. When you get to the point of more comfort than discomfort, then it starts to disintegrate. It’s the cycle of life.”

Upon reflection, Rhonda clarified, “This is not an accurate depiction of my volunteers. I am very concerned about our society’s selfishness and how so many people are focused on their own comforts and their own gains. We live in a day and time where even those who give a lot slip into a mindset of giving only when it meets their needs. I find myself falling into that trap too often and I see it in others in many different situations like church, community and work. However, I cannot paint everyone with this broad brush nor can I judge others past some things that I see. We have so many wonderful volunteers and so many work very hard and have fun helping.

“Your question made me think of the future and my concern that we have to be vigilant to avoid selfishness and how quickly even good acts can be tainted with a bad attitude or less than perfect motives. This is true of so many people not specifically food bank volunteers. My response to your question was meant to keep me focused on avoiding selfishness first and then to challenge others to be aware of this slippery slope of selfishness and to avoid where it can take us as a society.”

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About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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One Response to Profile Response: Rhonda Sanders, Arkansas Food Bank, Little Rock AR

  1. Rhonda Sanders says:

    This is not an accurate depiction of my volunteers and I want to clarify our discussion. I am very concerned about our society’s selfishness and how so many people are focused on their own comforts and their own gains. We live in a day and time where even those who give a lot slip into a mindset of giving only when it meets their needs. I find myself falling into that trap too often and I see it in others in many different situations like church, community and work. However, I cannot paint everyone with this broad brush nor can I judge others past some things that I see. We have so many wonderful volunteers that were discussed with you and so many work very hard and have fun helping. Your question made me think of the future and my concern that we have to be vigilant to avoid selfishness and how quickly even good acts can be tainted with a bad attitude or less than perfect motives. This is true of so many people not specifically food bank volunteers. My response to your question was meant to keep me focused on avoiding selfishness first and then to challenge others to be aware of this slippery slope of selfishness and to avoid where it can take us as a society. Thank you for allowing me a chance to visit with you and to address comments that were made during our lengthy conversation. Safe travels!!

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