The Food Must Move

March 24, 2021

The Food Must Move

Volunteer Delivery Driver Expresses the Importance of Food Deliveries

Rebecca Grapevine is a Congregation Bet Haverim volunteer food delivery coordinator who offered to help deliver food to Southwest Ecumenical Emergency Assistance Center (SWEEAC) clients. SWEEAC was no longer able to deliver groceries to some of their clients and Congregation Bet Haverim offered to take over the delivery for those clients. Grapevine is helping to recruit volunteer drivers and is coordinating the pick-up of food from the JF&CS pantry and distribution to SWEEAC clients.

When one of her scheduled drivers missed the food pickup, and Grapevine stepped in as a volunteer. With the hopes of recruiting more volunteers, she wrote a vignette about her experience in order to explain what to expect when delivering food and why it is so important.

by Rebecca Grapevine, Volunteer

It’s Friday afternoon and I’m thinking about vacuuming for Shabbos when the call comes. The families need food, the food must move. I hop into my car and head up to Dunwoody via Ga-400, noticing how Bloomingdale’s peeks out over the highway. I am greeted by a smiling face at Jewish Family & Children’s Services: Jean, the food pantry coordinator, helps me load three boxes into my car. I scan the boxes: the sweet treats and Cheerios are balanced out by bags of large greens and colorful peppers.

“May the traffic be with you,” Jean blesses me, and I head off to 285. I crane my neck at Brandsmart, wondering when my time for a vaccination will come. I arrive in south Dekalb county and start to notice the changes. Bloomingdale’s is replaced with 285 Thrift, fancy hotels with handwritten signs for home daycare posted on the median. No more Land Rovers; instead, I notice a man in a wheelchair trying to cross a four-lane road. There are many closed businesses, and a few thriving local institutions. What is This is It and why have I never heard of it? There’s no time to stop today: my families are waiting on their food, and I feel selfish for indulging my foodie tendencies while others go hungry.

First stop: Mr. D comes down to get the box from me, and we remark on the beautiful weather. Next stop: as the door to a classically decorated small apartment opens, I realize the elderly lady at the door is actually the daughter of Ms. H. I imagine how old Ms. H must be and what she must have seen in her life. These two definitely need the food delivered. Final stop: a kind older lady who comes to the door with her cane. We talk about the weather, the new president, and I tease her about eating her veggies. As I walk away, she says, I should give you something. My eyes tear up: even in the midst of great need, that grandmotherly instinct to feed and to give does not waver. No, Ms. W., I say, you’ve given me everything I need. As I drive home, my car is much lighter but the weight on my heart much heavier. The food must move.