Kitchen and Food Truck Volunteer
Marilyn Lane remembers her first volunteer tasks more than three years ago at The Nashville Food Project – grating cheese and stripping kale. But from those first days in the prep room, she found a place she visits up to four times a week as her volunteering home.
“I love that they’re not wasteful; that they’re creating food from what most people would throw away; that they’re growing their own food organically; that they’re composting and turning it back to the earth,” she said. “I love that they make a concerted effort to recycle and reuse. Everything I believe fits with what they do here.”
Marilyn has worked almost every shift from the prep room to cooking in the kitchen to meal delivery, and she has good things to say about each role.
“I like being in the whole process of it. The way they schedule it is so perfect. When there’s two hours in garden, two hours in prep, two in cooking and two in delivery -- it just flows. When you get 10 people doing each of those things, it’s amazing how much produce you can get processed or how many people you can feed. And you’re not hurrying. You’re chatting, talking and hugging.”
When it comes to truck delivery and serving at our partner organizations, she loves seeing the reaction on the meal recipients’ faces.
“You get all the kudos. I always make a point of telling Ann and Suzie, who prepare the meal on Thursday before we take it, how much everybody loved their food. It’s important for them to know. The truck people get all the hugs and god-bless-yous when many people are involved in the hard work.”
Though Marilyn has delivered to many locations, the John Glenn retirement home holds a special place for her.
“I’m a senior citizen,” she said. “So I just like talking to them and finding out how they’re doing. Giving them a hug sometimes. Some want to hug you even when they don’t know you. I think that’s an important part of what The Nashville Food Project does. You need to have that contact. It’s very often the only contact they’ll have.
She also had the opportunity to witness a magical moment over food at John Glenn. When the building expanded with a new wing, it created a rift between the residents of the older building and the new building.
“The people in the older building were either jealous or thought they should be the ones to go (to the new building),” she said. “You know human nature. There was friction between the two.”
But the two groups had to come together for the meal.
“In getting food and standing in line, we’re finding out that they’re getting along. They’re starting to carry meals to each other. They’re asking about how each other is doing. If someone passes away or someone gets sick or an ambulance is called, they ask. They commune together. And that’s what I think of as community. When Tallu talks about an arm of this agency as developing community, to me, that’s it in a nutshell. To see these people come together and get along. They’re dear to my heart for those reasons.”