This time last year, I was gearing up for the second half of #SNAPchallenge2013, the monthlong challenge inspired by Cory Booker that I undertook last January to raise money for the Greater Boston Food Bank. And I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the friends and family that helped me raise nearly $700 with that project. Food security is an issue that I’ve been very invested in exploring and assisting with for several years now, and that month gave me so much perspective on the people I advocated for.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to hit you up for money right now.

Completely by accident, and yet somewhat serendipitously, I landed at the Greater Boston Food Bank earlier this week (a place where I volunteer somewhat regularly), on the first anniversary of the project’s midpoint. It was a cool full-circle moment to assist with one element of the food security solution. The evening’s task was salvage, or sorting through donated items, categorizing them and packaging them for delivery to agencies benefitting from donations. It’s a chance to see the result of food drives that we so often participate in, but rarely see the other side of.

I was reminded of the discussion about food banks in the recent documentary A Place at the Table, and how they’re helpful but not a sustainable solution to food insecurity. At one point, someone talks about how families and agencies benefitting from these donations live on what is donated. Now, think about what you gave to the last food drive you participated in. Was it a canned vegetable? Maybe a prepared meal or pasta? I never really thought about what I gave to food banks before my immersion in the culture of food insecurity; now, any time the opportunity presents itself, I give it a tremendous amount of thought.

Did you know that food banks accept toiletries and feminine products? Have you ever thought to drop those things in the collection bin? 102.7 KORD has put together a great list of items that food banks most often need, but don’t get to ask for. I urge you to check it out in advance of your next donation to your local food bank.

I guess my goal in writing this post is to say that even though that was a very full month of my life, full of difficult lessons and rewarding displays of generosity from friends, the impact of it is never far from my heart. This week’s visit and its placement in time reminded me of that.

For a look down memory lane, check out my journey through the SNAP Challenge. If you’re interested in doing one, please feel free to reach out, I’d be happy to talk more about it and what I learned.

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