Tom's Story

These are tough times to be leading non-profit organizations. The challenge of engaging donors, identifying potential Board members, raising funds, creating innovative approaches to programs and services seems overwhelming at times. Still, there is a passion that drives me to do this work and ensure that Moveable Feast succeeds in its mission and vision to feed people, fight disease and foster hope. I have worked in the nonprofit, human services field for more than 25 years. Living in one of the most affluent countries in the world, I am personally committed to the issue of poverty and, thus, the impact areas of basic services: food, clothing, housing, and health care. These are the immediate impacts of poverty; without these basic needs secured each day, people cannot function. Poverty robs your quality of life: depletes your self-esteem so that you don’t recognize your own face in the mirror. In the face of poverty you can’t provide for your family; can’t maintain employment; have no money for health care; don’t care about tomorrow. In the face of poverty you are forced to surrender choices; live where others tell you; eat what is unhealthy; you can’t provide for your kids as you would like; you have limited choices for education… and on and on. 

For years I heard the adage: Give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a life.

It sounds so simple, but it is a complicated and oftentimes an arduous task. By the time the boy who has grown up in poverty is a man and ready to “learn to fish” poverty may robbed him of the basic foundations on which “learning to fish” is built. It’s a costly investment of resources: time, talent, and commitment of individuals and organizations to be in there for the long haul, not for a band-aid moment.

If Moveable Feast brings comfort and assurance of a daily meal to one person who is sick and alone (and we do this for more than 1100 people a week) – than we have maintained quality of life for that individual. Imagine being poor; being critically ill and being alone. I have been all three in my life, never at the same time. How about you?

Thomas Bonderenko is the Executive Director of Moveable Feast.

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