ALLAN GETS JOY FROM WORKING FOR AN ORGANIZATION THAT IS ‘MAKING THINGS BETTER’
Allan has been a driver for the Rescue Mission Alliance for 12 years, starting at the North Hollywood Super Thrift—one of RMA’s six thrift stores in Southern California. Three years ago, the Valley Food Bank needed some assistance, so Allan jumped over to help. After being given the opportunity to stay, Allan did, feeling like it was a better fit. “I really like the way we help people in need,” he said.
In the morning, Allan makes his rounds to the many stores that offer food donations, including Albertsons, Costco, Ralphs, Smart and Final, Target, and Trader Joes, among others. He brings the food, which includes fresh fruits and vegetables, back to the warehouse for sorting, and then drives it to one of the Food Bank’s many pantry partners for distribution. “It’s a different one every day—depending on the day, that’s where I go,” he said. “I deliver to the churches, and I sometimes see the people waiting outside, ready to pick up their food.”
In the last three years, Allan has seen a lot of change, chiefly an increase in the number of families requiring food assistance. “It’s been getting a lot bigger,” Allan said of the crowds. “You can tell, these people are in need of food. Especially since COVID. People lost their jobs, got laid off.
“When I first got here, we helped a lot of people, but it was business as usual. When COVID hit, you should’ve seen it … it was double the donations, double the people in need. It was really busy. It was something that you had to be here to really believe it. We were doing overtime, and sometimes they needed help on Saturdays. I’d have stuff to do, but I decided to do it. Whatever I had to do, I’d push it off. I saw the need of the people. They needed help. They were desperate.”
Allan does have some good news to share too. “I’ve also seen the pantries getting a lot more people to help, more volunteers—probably double as many as I used to see,” he said. “People are really wanting to help. There are more people wanting to do something.”
Allan is in most awe of the volunteers who have committed long term to volunteering at the Food Bank. “I’ve seen a lot of volunteers who have been here for a long time,” he said. “There’s been a guy here for 14 years, and another one for seven. They keep coming—every single day. Sometimes they do eight hours a day, every day. They’ve been a part of this for a long time, and they know each other. That’s the thing that gets me the most. Myself, I have to work to make a living. These people are probably retired and don’t need to do this. They don’t miss a day. I just think, ‘wow.’”
Allan said it’s an honor to be part of an organization that is committed to helping those struggling with food insecurity and poverty, and he looks forward to helping more. “We are going to get bigger,” he said. “We are going to get more drivers, more trucks, expand out in the Antelope Valley.
We are going to help more people and make things better.”