It’s hard to put a tangible measure on the value and growth I have received from working and volunteering for Boulder Food Rescue. The words I use to express my gratitude will never fully illustrate my appreciation and love for this organization and those incredibly invested and humble people who put so much energy into it. I have been asked to try anyway, so here goes:
Today is Sunday, August 9th. I will be leaving Boulder Food Rescue in less than a week and will have worked for this organization for almost two years. In that time, I have learned things such as how to write grants, how to create programs, and how to create better volunteer environments. But more so, I have learned about systems of oppression, how to question those systems, and how to think critically by constantly questioning the status quo in order to work towards addressing these seemingly unattainable problems like food waste, hunger, and other systems of oppression. I have learned how to question myself and how to find the solid ground needed to work on such difficult systems not just for the organization, but also on a personal level. I feel so grateful to be taking all of this knowledge and growth with me on my move to New York. These, however, are all of the selfish things I have received from being a part of something with such integrity. The real value and the reason I love BFR comes from all of those people who put so much time, energy, and love into it. They have touched my life.
I have never met a person more dedicated to learning and growing for the betterment of Boulder Food Rescue and her own personal growth than Hana Dansky. When the five co-founders of BFR decided Hana would be the best person to see this organization through, they could not have been more right. She is committed to listening, challenging, and addressing her own personal biases, ideas, and difficulties in life and with respect to BFR. This, with the help and influence of many other awesome people, has created the culture of the organization. Hana is dedicated to making sure Boulder Food Rescue is actually stopping food from entering the landfills, creating community by sharing meals with everyone who wants to join, and working to address the greater systems that continue to perpetuate hunger and food waste. Hana has definitely sacrificed personal care for this organization, but she always seems to be able to find herself again whether that be on a long bike trip across the country or by sharing a meal by the creek during Food Not Bombs. She is absolutely invaluable to this organization. It has been so special to watch the mutual relationship between her and BFR change, grow, and develop even during the difficult times. It has been even more rewarding to watch her personal growth through all of it. Hana, I cannot tell you how much this has all meant to me. Thank you for everything.
While Hana is extremely important to BFR, she is by far not the only person integral to this organization and community. All of the volunteers who put their time, energy, and sweat into BFR have shown me the passion and hard work it really takes to try to reduce the amount of food being wasted and get it to folks who need it. To all of the volunteers who spend their Saturdays biking food or doing maintenance in the boiling heat and the frigid winters-THANK YOU. You are so integral to Boulder Food Rescue and please know this food would get nowhere without your help. BFR would not exist without you. To our coordinators, interns, other volunteers, the board, and all of those who support BFR from afar, there are few things I believe in more than BFR. To me, this organization has been worth all of the sweat plus more. You have been worth all of the sweat plus more. Thank you from the deepest part of my heart.
A special thank you to all of our volunteers who are often less visible, but their time no less valuable. To Mal Birke, Cloud Dunn, Fran Lewis, Lisa Benedetti, Paulette Foss, Kate Doyle, and all the other folks who help distribute this food, thank you. The amount of time you commit to ensuring this food actually gets to people does not go unrecognized. We appreciate you so much and I will miss learning and conversing with you. Thank you for your humble reminders to continue working towards something you believe in.
Finally, to Benko and Lindsey, you are truly spectacular. You each have put in the energy this organization needs and I have learned so much from both of you in just a short time. Thank you for your dedication, passion, and willingness to see BFR through. I am excited to see where you help navigate BFR in the coming year(s). You are so important and I will miss each of you so much!
My heart is bursting and my eyes are filled to the brim with tears of happiness. I will continue to allow myself to pour over knowing BFR will be sustained with each and every one of these extremely important people involved. It turns out, I was getting into much more than just a Volunteer Coordination position when I was hired.
I wouldn’t trade it for anything.