Supporting Food for All

To the Editor:

I remember seeing the sign on Ledgelawn Avenue every Thursday after I picked my son up from diving practice. “Free soup from 4-7.” It made me happy that a group called Food for All (FFA) was hosting a meal for those in need. I knew that organizer Chris Brown was gleaning the food and saving it from being literally thrown out, but I didn’t feel like I belonged there because I could afford to feed Will and me.

Even after Brown had personally invited me to the community supper, I still felt guilty about taking the food. For a long time, I didn’t get it. Now, several years later, I do get it, but I wonder if others don’t, and if that lack of understanding threatens this incredible program.

Food for All is not just a soup kitchen. Yes, there is food on Thursday nights for folks who want a good meal, but don’t expect to fill out forms to prove that you’re hungry or on hard times. Just walk in and become part of our community sharing not only food, but also conversation, music and games. You’ll find folks of every age, religion and social status. Yes, pay for your meal – there’s a donation jar – but only if you can afford it.

Brown has been gleaning food for years and distributing it to folks in need. He’s a food rescuer, a recycler, a hero in the world of waste and great income disparity. Depending on its quality, the food can be used by humans, by animals or as compost. What an incredible gift to the community and what a model for food and human respect.

Food for All is not just Brown. Every week, many volunteers share their time and talents to create not only food, but community and good will. Like to wash dishes or sweep or stack chairs? Need community service for school or college? Come on down.

So why is Food for All in jeopardy? I believe it has a lot to do with people not getting it, like I didn’t get it. Grocery stores and the restaurants need to understand the benefits FFA provides to our community. The community needs to embrace this unique endeavor and donate its time by cooking, cleaning and/or eating on Thursday nights. People who believe in FFA and can afford it need to donate their money so the program can not only grow, but become sustainable for the long term. So where do you start? Why not come to dinner some Thursday night, 4-7 p.m. in Bar Harbor at the corner of Ledgelawn and Mount Desert streets. We’ll save you a seat.

Bo Greene

Bar Harbor

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