Move a muscle, change a thought, change the world.

I once heard a great quote and I don’t know who is responsible for it. The quote goes something like this: God can move mountains, but you better bring a shovel.

<span>Photo by <a href=”https://unsplash.com/@go_pol?utm_source=unsplash&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_content=creditCopyTe
Want to move a mountain? God can help but you’d better bring a shovel.

Photo by gokhan polat on Unsplash

What this quote means to me is that belief in and reliance upon a higher power is essential, but as human beings, we must exercise our will to act. It also means that I can’t just think about things in order to make them happen. I must envision the outcome and get into action in order to effect change.

I recently took on a challenge to impact hunger by starting a food drive. The experience was so moving that I thought I’d share it with you in the hope that it may inspire you to do something similar.

The Problem

First, some hard facts (source https://www.feedingamerica.org/)

Millions of children and families living in America face hunger and food insecurity every day.

  • Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 50 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 17 million children.
  • According to the USDA’s latest Household Food Insecurity in the United States report, more than 35 million people in the United States struggled with hunger in 2019.
  • In 2018, 14.3 million American households were food insecure with limited or uncertain access to enough food.
  • Households with children are more likely to experience food insecurity. Before the coronavirus pandemic, more than 10 million children live in food-insecure households.
  • Every community in the country is home to families who struggle with food insecurity including rural and suburban communities.
  • Many households that experience food insecurity do not qualify for federal nutrition programs and need to rely on their local food banks and other hunger relief organizations for support.

The Solution(s)

Now that you have more data on the problem, let’s look at some possible solutions. None of the following are intended to be the end-all, be-all solution to the problem of food insecurity — but let’s consider a few examples.

Organize a food drive.

Starting a food drive is incredibly simple. If you have the ability to communicate, you can share your intention with those with whom you are connected and ask them to join you in your mission. You don’t need a computer, or even a phone — although these things may help.

  1. The first step is to find an organization that will accept your donations. I started with a google search for food banks in my area. This led me to the Emergency Relief Agency of Levittown, PA. Call the agency to be certain that they’re accepting donations. In light of COVID-19 — they may have restrictions of which you need to be aware. Let the agency know of your plans and let them know roughly when you will be delivering your donations. This will help them plan.
  2. Create a flyer. Don’t complicate this. You can use pen and paper if you don’t have a computer. If you do, I used a free service to help create a message that would inspire those in my neighborhood to donate.
  3. Set up a place to receive your donations. I used several large plastic tubs with lids. and placed them on my porch. Be cognizant that your donations may be out in the elements and even though your asking for non-perishables — you want them to be safe/dry.
  4. Get the word out. I began by walking door to door in my neighborhood. I handed out a copy of the flyer — but if you don’t have copies, just let your neighbors know what you’re up to. Each and every single neighbor with whom I spoke were excited at the possibility of making an impact on this important issue. Now that your local area knows of your mission, let the world know by sharing it on social media. You may, or may not be active on social media — but this is your chance.

If you don’t have a facebook, Instagram, or twitter account, consider the powerful impact you may be able to have if you start using one for this purpose. This step is optional but suggested if you want to exponentially increase your impact.

Make sure you keep your donations safe. For me, that meant emptying the tubs and bringing them in nightly.

5. Deliver your donations. This probably goes without saying — but unless the donations make it safely to the agency, the impact will be zero.

The Result: 120lbs of food collected in 5 days.
The first haul… minus a few that I picked up on the way. Over 120lbs of food delivered to the ERA in Levittown, PA.

Donate in other ways

You may not be situated in such a way that starting, organizing, and running a food drive is possible. There are other ways to contribute. Search for a reputable charitable organization. Visit their web site, look for signs that they’re reputable. Make a phone call — be sure you can get someone on the line that can talk about the results they’re experiencing. Visit the facility if you can.

The problem of food insecurity in America and around the world is mountainous. We can move this mountain if only a little… if we pick up the shovel and assume responsibility.

Will you make commit to making a difference in the world? Perhaps you’ll choose some other mountainous problem on which to impact positive change but I’d like to challenge you… today.

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” — Barack Obama

Developer Advocacy at MongoDB, Inc.