Today marks the end of another school year for AZ Brainfood. This is an organization that is near and dear to my heart because a good friend (pictured on the right) started it several years ago. In fact, the Gilbert Turkey Trot that I manage each year raises money for AZ Brainfood.

Every Thursday morning, volunteers gather at a warehouse to help package bags of food to send to 3000 kids throughout the valley so they have food on the weekend. I’ve been a volunteer on and off over the years. Last fall, when school started and I sent my last kid to kindergarten, I wanted to become a regular volunteer and invited Hunter to join me because he started school later in the morning than the rest of the kids. We would show up earlier than everyone else and start by backfilling the line. We did this every week. After a while, a friend of mine noticed Hunter was there helping and she realized her daughter could go before school as well. And the group started to multiply.

Our Thursday mornings became a fun morning at Brainfood and then a rowdy carpool to school with loud music and I couldn’t have picked a better way to start my day.

My family knows I love this organization, but they don’t live around here so haven’t been able to see it in person. My dad was visiting not too long ago and I was happy to bring him along – he was great at unpacking granola bars!

When the food is stocked, we move to the line where we pull items and put them in bags.

Every week we see a lot of the same people, working the same stations and then there’s always a group or company that comes as guest volunteers. A few weeks ago it was a local high school dance group, last week a health care organization. Every week we see familiar faces and some new faces. We’ve made friends and made an impact. Hunter has logged so many service hours and we’re both sad to see it end with the school year. Luckily, Hunter has late start one more year so we’ll get one more year of Brainfood together.