Ahhhh.....I can see the end of the "Share Your Holidays"food drive in sight. For those of you that live in or around Houston, you might know what I'm talking about. SYH has been hosted by a local tv station for the past 25 years. All of the food and money raised during the food drive benefits my organization. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. The actual day of the event was yesterday, but we started collected food, money, and community partners for the event back in September. This is the longest, most complex food drive in the history of man.
Yesterday, 11 grocery stores, ALL Houston police stations, and ALL Houston fire stations were collecting food, in addition to 200 other organizations, corporations, and civic groups that have either already had, are currently having, or will have food drives to benefit the Food Bank. Guess who has to coordinate all of that? Yup. Me. There are boxes to be distributed, pickups that need to be scheduled, and donors that need to be thanked.
Ahhhhh.....I was at a local grocery store, just off downtown Houston, at 5:20am yesterday and I didn't see my house again until 7pm that night. The local tv station that hosts the food drive were at the grocery store with anchors and large cardboard checks o'plenty. Fortunately, it's Houston and the "freezing cold temperature" was only about 45 degrees, but it was windy, rainy, and all together nasty. Donations are extremely down from last year and everyone is attributing the lower "Share Your Holidays" donations to donor fatigue. People can only give so much: Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, and now.....Hanukah, Christmas, New Year's and of course, my much thought about trip to the Northeast. I can understand why folks would be hesitant to get into their cars, drive to a grocery store, buy food, and then donate it to a charity. While they are doing all of that, they're probably thinking about how much gas costs and how they are going to pay for their own holiday dinners.
I don't want to sound like a Scrooge here. Everything in my field revolves around donors and people giving. Unfortunately, though, people need to eat 12 months out of the year. They don't just eat during the holidays, or during hurricane relief efforts. The poor will continue to be poor and the hungry will continue to wish that they had enough money for food, regardless of how fatigued donors are.
Just some food for thought from a very tired woman...