Bob Starkes drives an IFFS Food Recovery & Distribution truck along the Glenwood Route every Thursday, and has been recognized in the Durham Herald Sun for his service. Born in Newfoundland, Canada, Bob has lived in Raleigh since 1979 with his wife Betty Ann, two children, and four grandchildren. After a 30 year career with Nortel, he embarked on a second 10-year career at United Way of the Greater Triangle (UWGT). Now retired, Bob has volunteered with IFFS for 5 years. What has been a stand-out moment in volunteering at IFFS?
There have been many rewarding moments, but one that I just experienced was very recently when I delivered some prepared food from the NC Highway Patrol cafeteria to the AME Shelter in Raleigh. They must have been very low on food that day, since one of the men helping receive the food looked me in the eye and said, “You sure saved us today.” Then there are the days (many of them) when we leave the warehouse with about 200 pounds of food, pick up about 800-1,000 pounds more, deliver it all to places in need, and return to the warehouse with an empty truck. If that’s not rewarding, then I don’t know what is!
Do you have a message for someone thinking about volunteering with IFFS?
I would offer them the opportunity to ride with me on my route and observe first-hand how food that is destined for the dumpster can be saved and placed into the hands of people who can use it while it is still fresh. The people who have taken me up on this offer have been truly amazed at the volume of food that was recovered and distributed, all in one morning (and that’s just one route on one day!).
With all the food you’ve rescued, you’ve certainly made a difference in our community. What has being an IFFS volunteer given you in return?
Before I was permitted to drive the trucks, I was required to take a driving test given by Dennis, the IFFS warehouse manager. Everything went well, except when I pulled the truck away from the warehouse dock. Dennis asked me to stop, and then asked me what I forgot to do. I went through my whole mental checklist (mirrors, my seatbelt, gauges, visual inspection, etc.), but could not think of one thing I forgot. Dennis explained I had forgotten to ask my passenger (Dennis) to buckle his seatbelt. That was a great lesson that I will always remember. Dennis has a great way of teaching.
Want to drive our Food Recovery & Distribution trucks like Bob? Click here to sign up, or to learn about other ways you can help Inter-Faith Food Shuttle build food security in North Carolina.
By Lindsay Humbert, IFFS Digital Media Specialist. Contact: Lindsay@FoodShuttle.org