Organization: Feeding in Motion
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Why should this person be nominated
I met Brenda Smith one night at a gas station in Long Beach. I was returning to my car after paying for the gas, when I noticed her vehicle filled with food. Being the naturally curious person that I am, I asked her what in the world she was going to do with all of it. She told me that she collected excess food from various food banks and other sources which she then delivered to families and individuals, including seniors (many of them grandparents caring for their grandchildren), in need who just couldn’t keep up with their bills for various reasons – loss of a job, illness, rent increases, or expenses such as school uniforms and supplies. Most often that food meant the family would not go to bed hungry! She would faithfully deliver to a family or individual until such time as they could get back on their feet. She said hearing the words, "Brenda, my freezer is full, give the food to someone else," and the accompanying smiles make her efforts worthwhile.
Brenda was exposed to this endeavor by her own mother who had been cooking for homeless and needy people in the Modesto area for many years. At 80 years old, her mother asked Brenda to take over for her. After much thought and prayer, Brenda took over for her mom. Brenda herself had been cooking for homeless individuals she would find under the freeways and other roads or on the banks of one of the countless "sloughs" in the Delta of the San Joaquin Valley. Now, she found herself with a much larger responsibility, serving more people in a larger area. She served the area of Modesto, Turlock, Ceres and other small towns until making the move to Orange County, where she has been for 5 ½ years.
Brenda couldn’t stay away from helping and providing food for others for long, though. The church she attended asked Brenda to cook for an event they were holding, which she did. The accolades were many, and she was soon asked to cook for events at two more local churches. She had also begun to cook for homeless people she found near the Newport Beach pier, which then led to finding and feeding hungry families.
She now provides food (mostly perishables which must be delivered by food banks within three daysof receipt) which she gathers from food banks and takes to families throughout Orange County and to Long Beach and into Los Angeles. She will generally stop at specific spots in a neighborhood, having called her “clients” to advise them as to her arrival. She has even been known to stop at bus stops to ask if a person is hungry or if anyone knows of a family or senior or shut-in who is. Delivering the food from the food banks takes up so much of her time that she rarely cooks and delivers that food to the homeless under the pier. In fact, she has grown so much that she is finally registering “Feeding in Motion” as an official non-profit!
It is with great delight that I am nominating Brenda Smith for a Senior Care Hero Award!