As the holidays approach, it’s natural to think of those less fortunate and imagine what we can do to help. It’s not just about feeling good by helping people. It’s about helping build a stronger community.
Heidi Stoermer is a good friend I’ve known for many years. She’s one of the most driven and generous people I know. During a recent outing to a local pub, Heidi told me about her work with Tacoma Rescue Mission. As I listened to Heidi, I realized that this was something that needed to be shared. Heidi agreed to join me for 5 Question Friday this week and let you all know what she’s doing and how you can easily help those most in need this holiday season. Here’s Heidi:
1. What is the ThanksGIVING Food Drive?
The ThanksGIVING Food Drive is actually 2 things, which both benefit the Rescue Mission here in Tacoma.
1. We’re expert Thanksgiving shoppers! We accept cash donations, which we use to purchase holiday food items such as turkeys, fresh veggies, stuffing, and pies. We’re able to maximize cash donations by working with store and meat department managers at the grocery stores we shop at. Stadium Thriftway, Top Foods, QFC, Safeway, and the Tacoma City Grocer have all given us a hand in previous years.
2. We’re a mobile donation station! This means that we set up meeting times in central locations where folks can drop off their donations, like the Krispy Kreme parking lot at the Tacoma Mall and the Walmart on Bridgeport Way in Lakewood. We’ll also come directly to you to pick up your order if you’re within a reasonable radius of downtown Tacoma.
2. How did you first get involved in the ThanksGIVING Food Drive?
This is our 4th Annual ThanksGIVING Food Drive! I was working for a large company in downtown Tacoma, who decided to move operations elsewhere. I had previously spearheaded a volunteer effort for my team, so we were all familiar with the great work that the Rescue Mission does every day. The ThanksGIVING Food Drive was an extension of that volunteer work, and a way for the team to refocus our priorities in the face of a layoff.
3. What is something everyone should know about this project?
We facilitate the ThanksGIVING Food Drive once a year, but the Rescue Mission serves more than 23,000 meals every month. Last year, we donated 18 turkeys out of the 2000 that the mission needs to ensure that everyone who asks for a hot meal over Thanksgiving week gets one. We’re just a drop in the bucket. Our goal is to make our drop the biggest and most effective.
4. How can people help if they want to get involved?
Folks can join our event on Facebook here, where we’ll be posting meeting times and locations: http://www.facebook.com/events/456365267738121
Donators can send me a direct message on Facebook or at email@example.com with any questions, or to scheduled a personal meeting time for food or cash donation pick-up for Nov. 16th or 17th.
We’d also love to hear from you if you have a trailer we might borrow for the drive.
5. What do you see for the future of the ThanksGIVING Food Drive?
This is the first year that we’ve opened this food drive up to the community – previously, we’d collected only from friends, family, and co-workers. We’re expecting this to be the biggest ThanksGIVING Food Drive to date, and hope to continue the tradition for years to come. It will always be held the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, to ensure that fresh veggies stay fresh and frozen turkeys have time to thaw.
I’d like to thank Heidi for taking the time to join me for 5 Question Friday and I’m hoping those reading this will take the time to join in this great cause.
Update: Heidi wants to add a couple of things:
1. I say “we” a lot in this interview. The other half of the “we” is Karin Jenette Dhaese Losk. She deserves a high five (or 50) for keeping track of every single can and box and turkey and pie.
2. If you would rather donate directly to the Mission, that is A-OKAY with us! Our goal is to get the Mission as much help as possible over the Thanksgiving holiday, so if our drive doesn’t work for you but you’d still like to chip in, no worries – you can donate directly here: http://www.rescue-mission.org/donate
As always if you or anyone you know would like to participate in 5 Question Friday, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jack Cameron