Words of gratitude written on whiteboard at food bank

Sometimes the simplest of gestures can have meaning far beyond words. I arrived for work last Tuesday morning to find the messages pictured above written on the whiteboard in our conference/break room. As I stood reading each entry, my eyes began to flood with tears. If you don’t know the personal stories of the members of the FoodBank staff, it wouldn’t be obvious to you why those simple quotes made such an impact on me that morning.

Each member of our team has overcome tremendous challenges in his or her lives. We have team members who have survived child abuse and domestic violence. We have team members who have survived poverty and homelessness. We have team members who have overcome nicotine, alcohol, and drug addictions, as well as life-threatening diseases. That’s a lot of adversity to overcome for just eight people.

But, if you haven’t figured out yet, they are not just any “people“. They are fighters. They are survivors. They are overcomers. And how have they handled all the challenges in their lives? With bitterness? With resentment? With self-pity? One glance at that whiteboard and you know the answer. With gratefulness and compassion. With grace and dignity. So much so, that they have dedicated their careers to helping others rise above their challenges.  And it is my honor and privilege to be a part of that team.

Now, doesn’t that bring a tear to your eye too?

Maria Lynn Thomas is the Chief Executive Officer of Community Food Bank of San Benito County.

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