Spreading kindness through food
Introducing our Volunteer of the Month for May, Hank Brehman! Hank has been volunteering with Food Forward since 2014, and quickly got more involved and became a Glean Team Leader. Hank has lead at 7 farmers markets throughout Los Angeles, including Santa Monica Wednesday, Culver City, Mar Vista, and Hollywood! He also regularly volunteers at fruit picks and always brings a can-do attitude. Thanks, Hank, for your hard work & dedication to food justice!
Hank, pictured far right, leading a glean team at the Santa Monica Wednesday farmers market!
So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?
I heard about Food Forward from an Earth Week presentation at Santa Monica college.
What drew you to Food Forward’s work and mission?
I realized that I’ll have a relationship with food as long as I’m living and that I can do something every day to combat food injustices and better my understanding of food. I’ve become a mindful locavore in part because of my experiences with Food Forward.
What do you do when you’re not volunteering with Food Forward?
I work as a butcher for Wolfgang Puck. I like to read about honey bees. I’m in the process of being matched with a little brother or sister with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. I’ve always been the youngest in my family so I’m really looking forward to helping someone else grow.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with Food Forward?
Having a consistent positive impact in other people’s lives and being able to share that rewarding experience with new volunteers. If a utopia exists, most inhabitants regularly volunteer with Food Forward.
How would you describe the volunteer experience at a market?
Rewarding and enriching. Many volunteers are out of their comfort zone at first but get more involved.
What was your first volunteer day like?
Busy—just me and the glean team leader at Brentwood. I later met her again as a pick leader and we caught up with each other while picking kumquats.
What have you learned from volunteering?
Being selfless is contagious and loving kindness spreads easily through food.
Is there a particularly powerful volunteering moment you’d like to share?
The Wednesday Santa Monica Market always gets a lot of donations and I remember a day several years ago when none of the volunteers showed up and I got a call from the volunteer coordinator—who drove from the North Hollywood HQ for the glean—asking for help. I showed up when I could and helped with the weight distribution. We collected around 2000 pounds that day and one farm donated 400 pounds of avocados!
Any words of wisdom you live by?
Emulate babies—stay inquisitive and seek more developed mindsets.