Celebrating Food Rescue: 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

On February 26, Second Helpings Atlanta (SHA) hosted its annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner, an event recognizing food rescue Volunteers who are the heart and soul of our organization.

Volunteers Beth Humphreys and Diane Heller created a festive and meaningful event. Rio Bravo provided delicious food, and wonderful raffle prizes were donated by Ted’s Montana Grill, Trader Joe’s, RK&Co Jewelers, Olive Garden, Gordon Biersch, Monday Night Brewing, Ormsby’s, Whole Foods, AMC Theatres and Publix.

We not only celebrated, we learned and engaged.

Presentation by Leigh Hall, SafeHouse Outreach

The evening started with a presentation by Leigh Hall, Homeless Services Coordinator and Case Manager at SafeHouse Outreach. SafeHouse offers counseling and educational services that help the homeless transition off the streets. Leigh shared how food rescued and delivered by SHA Volunteers permits her organization to feed a larger number of homeless people. This donated food also makes it possible for members of her team to devote themselves to coaching and counseling, which empowers homeless people to achieve independence. Leigh shared inspiring stories of clients who sought out SafeHouse for a warm meal and discovered support and services that helped them find jobs and apartments of their own.

Second Helpings Atlanta Milestones

Recipient of SHA's 2016 Food Rescue Volunteer of the year
From Left to Right: Gareth Young, Barbara Greenstein, Joe Labriola and Colleen Casey

SHA Executive Director Joe Labriola then outlined the impact of Second Helpings Atlanta in the wider Atlanta community. He noted that SHA delivered 1.1 million meals in 2016, a 60% increase over 2015. SHA also added 18 new Food Donors and began delivering free, nutritious food to 12 new Partner Agencies.

Joe thanked everyone for making these wins possible and shared current statistics:
• Nearly 80% of food donations come from grocery stores;
Food donated from corporate kitchens represents almost 10% of all food donations.
• 4 new schools will be joining SHA’s Food For Thought Program.

Sheri Labovitz, Board of Directors Vice President, provided an overview of fundraising efforts, sharing details of our new fundraising event Food & Field Fest. She also announced a new way for volunteers to get involved this winter by working concessions during football games at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. SHA will receive a percentage of all food sold when volunteers staff a booth!

The meeting concluded with Joe Labriola and SHA President Gareth Young recognizing individual volunteers for heroic food rescue efforts. A highlight was the presentation of the first Lenny Award. This award is given in honor of Lenny Greenstein, a former SHA volunteer who had a huge impact on our community. The first Lenny Award was given to Colleen Casey, who had 8 regular routes during most of 2016.  Like the award’s namesake, Lenny Greenstein, Colleen went above and beyond the call of duty.