By Sarah Geraci
Feeding the needy takes a lot more dedication and perseverance than I had expected. After working with director of Hudson Valley Current, Chris Hewitt, I have learned the dedication and knowledge necessary to host successful Satisfy Hunger events. But I will disclose now; it was not easy.
Each event aimed to provide a wholesome meal to people in need, while simultaneously spreading knowledge to members of the Current as well as prospective members. All of the food, prepared or not, that we had gathered was through generous community donations and sponsorships from local businesses. Without the help of our community the success of these events would not have been possible.
The planning and coordinating took a lot of careful effort and time. Chris had to develop his vision for the event, including what type of community members he would be serving, where it was to be held, what foods to prepare, and when. This involved many phone calls, drive bys, and emails in order to develop an organized strategy—to turn an idea into a reality was the ultimate goal. Once the location was picked and the menu sorted out, the Current team needed to publicize the events and get people interested and actively involved.
Despite the rigorous hard work involved in the planning process, nothing became more stressful than the day of the event. It took almost the entire morning to gather necessary food preparations (those of which were typically cooked the night prior), load up multiple vehicles, and unload the equipment into the restaurant. It got heated when the food started simmering, the clock was ticking down, and guests were about to arrive. There is only so much a handful of volunteers can possibly do in a given amount of time, especially when about 100 people are waiting with hungry eyes. It was exciting, thrilling, and rewarding to be working against the clock in order to cook and serve delicious meals to people who were deserving of them. Throughout the stress and anxiety, it was only through the collaborative effort of each volunteer, each restaurant owner, and the people of the community that positive, successful outcomes were generated.
I am proud to have been part of a process that has proven to be beneficial to the people of Ulster and Dutchess counties. I am grateful as well, to have had the chance to work with a handful of loving, charismatic, and philanthropic humans. It has opened my eyes to the goodness that surrounds each of us, and how one singular dream, vision, or goal, can be reached by acts of kindness and faith.