Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Thank you to the residents of La Verne, California for your help

On May 10th, 2014 our volunteers gathered at Sowing Seeds For Life in La Verne, California, for the United States Post Office annual food drive called Stamp Out Hunger.

As the volunteers waited for the food to arrive for sorting, we drove the two large bobtail trucks to the La Verne Post Office.

The first truck was backed into position on the loading dock, ready to receive the donations of food from the ever growing caring populace. Having never done this before I had no clue what I was in store for.

As the first carriers arrived in their small trucks I was amazed to see the trucks completely loaded with bags of food, not only the rear of the trucks were overflowing, but also in the driver area.

We unloaded truck after truck, with the bagged food placed into large boxes, that weighed in excess of eight-hundred pounds after being filled; each box was weighed before being moved into the back of our trucks, as each post office competes with one another around the country.

With the help of each mail carrier unloading their own truck, many teens from a halfway house in Chino, and the founder of Sowing Seeds For Life, Ms. Vicki Brown, we unloaded twenty-three thousand pounds of food in six hours. Needless to say everyone was exhausted, and our plans to have a few cold drinks after completing the work were completely abandoned to get home to shower and rest.

As I drove the last load of pallets to the food bank, which is but a short two miles away,  my partner and I could not get the pull down gate to release and drop into place, and decided to drive back with the gate open, a very big mistake.

While driving South on White Avenue, I missed the signal at Bonita, and decided to turn right as Bonita has so many lovely trees, hence the name. Little did we know the pallet jack we used was faulty, and did not drop down completely to the bed of the truck. After making the right turn I noticed we lost a large box of bagged food in the middle of the street with the pallet jack attached, it rolled out the back of the open truck.

My mouth and eyes doubled in size as I let out an "OH MY GOD", and immediately pulled over to the curb, while my rider was yelling, "don't stop Ed". I quickly called Jorge, and explained what had just happened, and the group that worked with us at the post office quickly headed to our location to help us retrieve the spilled food.

Most people just look the other way when things like this occur, not the residents of La Verne, California. Cars pulled over on both sides of Bonita Avenue, while residents came out of their homes and helped us move the bagged canned goods to the sidewalk. I would have captured more photographs, but with the westbound lane completely blocked, I was directing traffic.

I estimate we had somewhere near forty strangers come to our aid, all the food was picked up within twenty minutes, and loaded into the back of a pickup truck, when the La Verne Police Department arrived, the only trace that something had happened was some crushed cereal and pasta in the street.

This was nothing short of a miracle, and I want to thank the citizens of La Verne for stepping forward, and getting involved.

I also learned a valuable lesson, never drive a loaded truck with the gate up, or something like this can occur.

As for my helper that asked me not to stop, he said he had a warrant and was fearful the police would give him a free ride to jail.

Sowing Seeds For Life
1350 Arrow Highway
La Verne, CA. 91750

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