I have been a driver for the ROOTS home delivery program for approximately five years. ROOTS has been a special and unique experience for me, an opportunity to know my delivery recipients on a much more personal and in depth basis than is usually possible. Because one has the time and a one-on-one relationship, there is the window to be a good listener, show understanding and empathy, and perhaps make observations and learn of additional needs: information that can be shared with the Food Bank staff for suggestions or actions.
It has been meaningful and often amazing to learn that a large number of our customers have so many varied talents and successes in life, now hidden by unfortunate life circumstances.
One of my delivery customers, currently living in a single motel room, has his name on some well known country music as a composer and song writer. He talks with pride about those times and the artists who have recorded his music.
Another gentleman, who now uses a wheelchair, was a Special Olympic World swimming champion in the late 1980s. I just happened to see the newspaper article posted on his apartment wall. He beams when talking about the accomplishment.
Another customer is a very kind man, always looking out for his neighbors. He loves the small patch of dirt and a few flowers outside his motel room. So, last fall, he and I planted some raspberry bushs from the extras I had at home. This year he happily shared the berries with his neighbors.
I believe that this opportunity as a ROOTS driver serves as a reminder of the expression: “There but for the grace of god go I.”
Sometimes we are each dealt circumstances which take our feet from under us, a realization that tends to make one humble and also appreciative and understanding of what so many of our Food Bank customers are enduring.