Receipt of the James Moore Award
By Ed Demoney
[Editor's note: Ed Demoney is the second recipient of the James Moore Award that honors a VHTRC member who has both significant running accomplishments and gives back to the community. Ed sent an e-mail to several of us with his reaction to this honor. He has permited me to reproduce that message here.]
There is a sense of wonder and satisfaction in me as I continue running ultras, the main question being the time I have left to continue getting out on the trails. Being the oldest finisher at Capon Valley was an eye opener, especially since I still feel youthful emotionally even if my stride has shortened along with diminished leg turnover since I started doing marathons in 1976 and my first 100 miler in 1979.
Now that I'm retired I've been privileged to spend a lot more time "volunteering" than when I was gainfully employed. There are immense rewards in helping some of the less fortunate members of our society, whether the service is occasional or passionate. I should not decry civic service in favor of charitable since I have been involved in both over the years. I am pleased that I can now devote a major effort to a Christian ministry.
It doesn't seem possible but it's been nearly six years of intensive service with Food for Others and its emergency food services program in Northern Virginia. Drafting a proposal recently I was a bit startled at the magnitude of our current services, considering where we were in 1995 and that we are primarily supporting poor people in the richest region of our country. Business is booming. I don't know whether that's good or bad. I do know a lot of families with incomes of $10,000 a year or less have trouble surviving in Fairfax County where the median family income is about $90,000. We can help these families when they need food.
For the past 10 months we have dealt with an average of 385 emergencies monthly at our warehouse, the largest share being those who visit us monthly to pick up USDA commodities. The latter receive a small amount of food, but important if you are living below 125% of poverty. We can provide them with other staples where our supplies almost always exceed demand, bread products for example.
Our volunteers distribute food at 16 sites in Northern Virginia. In these high poverty neighborhoods Food for Others supports about 350 families on peak weeknights. Organizations using us as a food bank, 40 or more in a typical month, help another 1,400 families including a substantial number of homeless individuals and poor kids receiving nutritional education.
What's surprising is how our food distribution continues to increase. Fortunately, we are able to collect more than 150,000 pounds of food monthly to keep up with demand. We distributed almost 1.7 millions of pounds of food for the 10 months ending April 30.
We couldn't accomplish our mission of feeding the hungry without volunteers committed to public service. I'm just one of more than 600 involved with Food for Others, and the value of our services exceeded $300,000 last year. Because so many are willing to support us with their service, Food for Others is efficient and effective. Less than one penny out of every revenue dollar goes to fundraising and administration. We look real good in the CFC and United Way campaigns in comparison with other nonprofits.
I'm pleased to be a member of another small but growing nonprofit. VHTRC would not be the great club it is if it weren't for the willingness of its volunteers to be engaged in public service associated with running and recreational areas in our region. I know volunteers benefit as they enjoy a weekend at BRR or MMT.
Interestingly, all of you have chosen careers of public service, whether governmental, educational or military. Perhaps this is why all of us recognize the value of serving the public. No doubt this background helps us to inspire others to give of themselves. At least we attract the needed volunteers to our races, bolstered in part by people doing community service in order to run races in the west.
Thanks again for the award. I shall treasure it and proudly display it along with all the buckles I've earned over the years.
For more information on Food for Others, go to the its web site