Feeding the 2,000
by Olivia Cook
I grew up with the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 with just 5 loaves of bread and two fish. The most perplexing part of the story to me was not how that amount of food fed 5,000 people, but how they multiplied it. Did it just grow in front of their eyes? Did they divide it out and the original piece never got smaller? My young mind could accept the miracle of feeding people, but not the physics of multiplying the food.
This week I felt like I saw a glimpse of the miracle of feeding people with food that wasn’t there before.
On Tuesday afternoon we received a call from a food testing agency. They had 230 boxes of frozen fish fillets that needed to be gone by Thursday morning. If we couldn’t pick up all the food by then, it would be thrown out because there was new food arriving that needed the spot in the freezer. The agency had just been notified of the shipment that afternoon and had no idea what to do with the excess food.
Conventional methods of food rescue – scheduling large trucks to come pick up the food and bring it to a central location – aren’t possible on such short notice. Food banks don’t have that level of staffing or refrigeration ready on hand and need to plan ahead for large, refrigerated donations like this one. If it weren’t for Last Mile, this food would have all been thrown out because there was no way to transport or store it until someone could use it.
Thanks to the work of our incredible dispatching team, on Thursday morning in under one hour nine different volunteers showed up at the donation site, packed their cars full of fish sticks, and dropped them off to non-profits around the city. Every last box was rescued and delivered, still frozen solid and just in time for a good Lenten Friday Fish Fry.
“During Lent, I always try to be more intentional to live as Jesus asks – to care for my neighbor. Last Thursday, I delivered frozen fish to Our Daily Bread, The Caring Place and Shelterhouse for Men. I was so happy to be able to provide this food, that would otherwise be wasted, to those who could really use it.” Eileen Budo, Last Mile COO and member of Good Shepherd Parish.
The fish we rescued on Thursday was enough to feed 2,000 people, all with food that would have otherwise been sitting in the landfill right now. Although I’m still not sure how Jesus did it, I feel like I have a sense of how the disciples felt as they sat and watched the miracle of people being fed with food that wasn’t available before. I’d call that a Lenten Miracle.
If you want to be a part of Last Mile’s Mission to end food waste, we are currently seeking new food donors, non-profit partners, and Food Rescue Heroes (our volunteer drivers). Check out our website to learn more. www.lastmilefood.org.