Mother Theresa once said, if you can’t feed everybody, just feed one person.
The following is an email from our President, Dan Herzog which recounts a story that played out this week. In the strange and sometimes tough times we are living through at the moment, it is one of those “feel good” stories that make you proud to be associated with Food For Friends.
The story starts with a person in need coming to our website. This person just happens to be located in Philadelphia, PA which is pretty far from Food For Friends normal outreach region, but not too far for our team to help out. But we needed someone locally to help us out. That help came from the Upper Darby, Philadelphia Fire Department.
So let’s start the story with the random email we received about a week ago.
My name is Louise, widowed and 66 yrs. old. I have no family and live alone. I was wondering if you have a community base in the Delaware County area for food delivery.
I viewed the Chicago website you have and gotten your name from Choice Connections who is helping me right now.
As long as we don’t know how long this virus is, I have been trying to get help wherever I can.
I used to drive but gave my car back to the loan company. I lost my husband to metatastic prostatic cancer last year and he was making the payments for me.
I now take public transportation and is very difficult for me as I had recent spine surgery and limited to carry under 5 pounds.
If you can help in any way, it would be very much appreciated.
Thank you and may God Bless,
Having received the email, our President, Dan Herzog picks up the story from there. The following is an email from Dan.
I read the email from Louise Schreiber of Philadelphia (Upper Darby) and just knew Food For Friends had to help out in someway. She had contacted us through email after finding our website while seeking assistance.
It took a few days but after contacting some friends in Philly (business folks I know in Philly) we came up empty for ideas all through last weekend.
But, on Tuesday, I had a idea about a food store delivering. So I contacted Louise and got her address. I looked up her address on Google maps and it turns out there is a FIRE STATION just one block away.
I called the Upper Darby, PA township fire house and talked to the Captain, who was very nice but said the station can’t do this type of service (buy groceries and deliver, even if Food For Friends agreed to reimburse). However, he gave me the name of his Chief as well as a contact number at headquarters. The captain said, “I know the Chief and I think you will be very pleased with the outcome”. Coincidence?
So I called the Chief, and he was out on a call, I left a message with details but figured I was at another dead end.
4 hours later I got a call from Chief Mike Gove. I explained who I was and what the mission of Food For Friends was. He was surprised at how we in Chicago were contacted by a widow in Philly who needed food! As he processed this information it became clear that he was touched, moved and inspired by this story.
He went on to say that he actually does things like this regularly. He explained that he and his daughter make sandwiches once per week at home and deliver those sandwiches to shelters and to those that are homeless. He said, “tell Louise that I am going to shop and be there in 30 minutes”. I gave him the list of groceries Louise asked for and told the chief Food For Friends will gladly pay him back.
Exactly 30 minutes later Chief Gove and 5 firemen from the station down the block delivered a number of bags of groceries with to a very surprised and happy Louise!
Coincidence? I think not. Who knew, that a older widow fallen on hard times in a storm, would be assisted to navigate the high seas by Food For Friends in Chicago 800 miles away.
This whole story reminds me that Bono of the rock group U 2 once said “distance doesn’t determine your neighbor”.
Only God, believe in the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Dan Herzog, President Food For Friends
As an end to the story, Dan shared an email he got from Louise after the Upper Darby Firemen showed up with the groceries. Her email is copied below.
My gosh!! Five firefighters showed up with the food!!
I remembered you asked to send a picture of me with the chief. Well, the chief was out the door but two remained, one took a photo of me and the other firefighter. I did thank them all and stuck my head out to thank the Chief also. He said “No problem!”
I am attaching some photos of the food they brought to me.
Thank you again, Dan. Very much appreciated.
Quite a story, huh? Lots of thanks go to the firemen at the Upper Darby Township Fire Station. For all the photos, see our album on our Facebook page.