Giving A Little Back Part III


I’ve been continuing my helping out with FAM over the last few weeks and Jenny joined in the fun a week or so ago and to make it even more special I was given the keys to Old Betsy to drive and sothe two of us went on a food pick-up round on our own. Now Old Betsy is roughly the size of a Luton box van, which I’ve driven before when moving house, however I’ve not driven anything of this size, or venerability in the States, so I was a little cautious to start with. Once we got going though it was a blast – sure she rattled and creaked and struggled a bit and so what if the doors didn’t open too easily, but let’s be honest as she’s done two and quarter million miles to date, she’s fully entitled to a bit of huff and puff, wouldn’t you agree? In terms of food collected we got a decent haul of about a ton of food from 3 supermarkets and before heading back to unload and then fill one of the other vans for the twice weekly drop off at Camp Pendleton.

This week I’ve done a few pick ups including two and half tons of food from 5 supermarkets with Robert on Monday, this was quite a longish route, about 60 miles all told. There was more on this round than usual as Sunday had been Mother’s Day out here so there was a fair amount of unsold party food – cakes, bread, buffet items etc… There was good chat aplenty to accompany the drvie and I discovered that Robert is an retired investment manager who grew up in Minnesota in the mid-west where seasonal temperatures are at the real extremes (winters can be as cold as -40 and summers as hot at +35) so a strong constitution and a lot of perseverance are required to survive. He’s been in California for about 20 years now and unsurprisingly has no desire to move back – although he does visit from time to time.

Wednesday was my last day helping out and I was asked to do a round on my own in “Little Yellow” which is their 2 ton truck. I picked up just over a ton of mostly bread, cakes and sticky buns from a couple of Ralph’s supermarkets, all again left over from the weekend. The truck was as easy to drive as a regular car and it was great to be asked to help out in that way. Once I’d finished the round and unloaded, I went into the office to say my goodbyes to the people I’d got to know over the last few weeks and to my surprise they’d convened a staff meeting to present me with a Certificate of Appreciation for the work I’d done. It’s been a great privilege to get involved and help out at FAM, from the outset they’ve been very welcoming and have gone out of their way to make me feel part of the team and I shall miss them.