NFESH was essentially started or re-born 10 years ago out of a common belief: Senior Hunger in America was and is a fact that we just aren’t willing to accept. That’s it. We didn’t know what we were going to do or how we were going to do it. We just knew what we stood for, so with little fanfare and even less money, our great experiment…our exciting journey began.
The big idea early on was a thing we called CUASH: Communities United Against Senior Hunger. What did that mean? Again, we had no idea, but we strongly believed any real, lasting solution to senior hunger would take shape in communities, be driven by community cooperation and ultimately succeed because of community commitment. So, we started to “blue sky” innovative projects and interventions that could move the needle on ending senior hunger. There were: think tanks; research projects; food waste projects; senior-friendly gardens; Feeducation for grandparents and grandchildren; kosher meal grants; public awareness campaigns; and now the Senior Center(ed) Community College and ground-breaking Age-Well Community projects. What’s the common thread here? Community! Without even realizing it, NFESH’s CUASH idea was and continues to be the backbone of everything we do.
We have heard from people over the years that NFESH reminded them of that timeless children’s book The Little Engine That Could and we embrace that comparison. It rings true. But NFESH wouldn’t exist, nor would be able to continue to chug along if it wasn’t for our heart and soul, our leader, Enid Borden. NFESH is the embodiment of Enid’s integrity, strength and drive. And she didn’t do it alone. Enid built a committed and tireless team that has powered NFESH’s journey. Thank you to everyone who has worked and volunteered with us over the past 10 years. Additionally, a very special thank you to our Board of Directors who have shared their talents (and money) with NFESH, without whom none of this would have been possible.
We have found great partners along the way as well, working with a variety of institutions of higher education: University of Kentucky, Syracuse University, Georgia Tech and George Mason University. We also covered a lot of ground in ten years. NFESH projects took us all over this great country, covering real and imaginative territory from the mountain tops of New Mexico, compost piles in Arkansas, to hanging out with Elmo on Sesame Street.
It wasn’t always pretty or fun…or even successful. We’ve had our hearts broken, losing loved ones way too soon (rest in peace Chip Ingraham, Jason Cohen, Jim Ward and Heather Skelton). We’ve scrapped, we’ve struggled, we’ve stalled, but we never succumbed. We’ve succeeded…together. This journey is a wonderful success story in finding new ways to battle senior hunger and in taking this challenging journey together as a team.
From our little community to yours, thank you for your support over the past ten years. Keep your eyes out, because our “Little Engine That Could” might be pulling into a station near you sometime soon. We’re just getting started! I think I can…I think I can…