Since when does 30 = 9,000 + 5,000 + 1,250? Don’t be confused, this isn’t bad first grade math, but rather the result of one spectacular day at the San Francisco Food Bank. More on the addition in a minute but, first, some explanation of what transpired.
This past Friday, 30 Mindjetters car-pooled 30 minutes away from our well stocked, well fed environment we call home from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Friday to lend a hand at an amazing organization known as the San Francisco Food Bank. This huge, Costco like warehouse facility serves as the logistical beehive for literally hundreds of food pantries around the area. The likes of Glide, St. Anthony’s and others rely on the produce, canned and packaged goods supplied from the hub-and-spoke operation to keep their meals coming, literally, each day. Focused on distributing fresh produce means that the operation must run with the efficiency of a Fortune 500 factory yet the heart and spirit of a startup. With that, the constant need for volunteers fuels the effort with the donation of time equating to the balance of having an additional 55 full time head count on staff year round. Through a well oiled practice of guiding and educating teams—like Mindjet—or individuals, the staff made it easy to focus on the task on hand and commit three or more hours a shift to getting the job done.
In our case, it was carrots, grape fruit and brown rice. Pounds and pounds of it. First, we had to take some 9,000 pounds of carrots (yes, the first clue in the riddle above) and box them into smaller increments to be placed on pallets and shrink wrapped. Likewise, the group grabbed the good ones and rejected the bad ones of some 5,000 pounds of grape fruits (you guessed it, the second clue) to get these tasty citrus off within the next 24 or so hours around the Bay. We took a short break and then were gathered in a laboratory like side room to re-package brown rice into tidy 1 pound bags, 15 to a box pulling from a 2,000 pound canvas satchel that was purchased in bulk by the Food Bank. After about an hour and a half of scooping, weighing, sealing and packaging, the result was 1,250 pounds of individually portioned brown rice ready for 1,250 families (alas, the last piece of the equation).
By the end, we were all a bit tired with bits of carrot grooved under our finger nails and the smell of grape fruit etched in our clothes. But we were refreshed by the fact that one small group of 30 people could influence the lives of so many, so quickly, so easily. While it was hard to imagine that 30 could, in fact, equally 9,000 + 5,000 + 1,250 somehow the math just plain worked on that sunny day, in Potrero Hills. Being Mindful can make even tricky equations like that seem to compute. Be sure to check out the Mindjet Facebook page for more pictures of this great event.