File this under the heading “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”…..
We had quite a bit of catered, untouched food left from a graduation/birthday/anniversary party yesterday (Lesson: Don’t believe the estimates you see about how many servings each platter holds. Multiply that number by two at least!). Rather than throw all this food away, we wanted to donate this to people who could use it. A lot of the food was prepared with the best ingredients, the food was delicious, I personally helped on cooking it, I used only the best stuff and utensils like my favorite karambit slaughter knife.
One wouldn’t think this would be so difficult–I mean there is a recession going on, right? There are a lot of people out of work, homeless, down on their luck. How hard can it be to help them out? Harder than you would think, as it turns out.
First I called the one name brand I know in this area, Second Harvest Food Bank. Turns out they only deal with nonperishable food, not prepared-and-ready-to-eat-with-a-shelf-life items. (They also take nonperishable cash, but not prepared food.)
They recommended going to a soup kitchen and after a little prodding gave me a couple of recommendations. The first place I called only serves food on Sundays, so our timing was bad. The second was a wrong number. I found a similarly named church online and called them, but the phone rang off the hook. My next phone call reached a soup kitchen but the person who answered wasn’t sure how to help me, who to send me to, or what exactly I was looking for anyway.
I did a Google search and found a place that said they’d be thrilled to have this. They gave me directions and off I went. Unfortunately, I missed a turn somewhere and didn’t have their phone number handy. So I called Sprint 411. Three times. And all three times I got people who could not figure out the word “Ecumenical” (as in Ecumenical Hunger Program) to save their life. They asked me to spell it, told me the program didn’t exist, asked me to respell the name of the street, and told me they couldn’t understand what I was saying because the connection was bad (Hmmm…you’re with Sprint–whose fault do you think that might be?).
Finally with no help whatsoever from Sprint’s Directory Assistance, I found the address, delivered the food, was thanked heartily and went away with a feeling of accomplishment.
But, ladies and gentlemen, this should not be that hard. It’s graduation/wedding/prom season. There must be plenty of people who have leftover food that could feed hungry people. How much of that food goes to waste because it’s just too difficult to get it to the people who need it?
For that matter, regardless of the business you’re in, how many of your customers give up on you because it’s too much work to locate you, find your contact information, navigate your website, or something similar.
Life is already hard enough. Here’s to making things easy.