Reflecting on Saving Grace’s Impact
During six years with Saving Grace, Randy Hansen has been there to experience the organization’s growth. When he started, he was the only driver. Now, as field operations manager, he oversees a staff of four drivers.
“It has grown in a good way,” he says of the organization. “The word has gotten out that Saving Grace picks up quality food.”
Hansen was looking for a career change and an opportunity to work outside when he came to Saving Grace after 25 years with Big Fred’s, including 15 years in management.
“I never knew what the extent of the food crisis was until I started working for Saving Grace,” he says. “You come to work every day and you are touching someone’s life in some way.”
Over the years, Hansen has built relationships with Saving Grace’s food donors and food recipient agencies. When Saving Grace receives a large donation, such as seven pallets of yogurt from Lala Dairy, Hansen makes calls to see what agencies can use it and lets the drivers know where to take it. “It’s something they don’t see much of,” he says of this type of donation. “They take as much as they can.”
Hansen knows the smaller agencies don’t have access to much fresh fruit, so he makes sure to spread around what Saving Grace picks up every day. “The pantries know when we will show up and that they will get quality food. It’s not something they have to pick through.”
When Hansen operated a route, Notre Dame Senior Housing was one of his stops. “On Fridays when we would arrive there, the seniors would already be in their designated chairs waiting because they wanted the first pick when the pantry opened,” he recalls. “It was like shopping day.” The seniors were so appreciative they gave Hansen a framed picture of himself making a delivery and a signed Christmas card. “That means a lot,” Hansen said.
Seeing the needs in the community has been impactful. “You have to really count your blessings because there are other people who are struggling,” Hansen says.
“It is not just a job to me,” he adds. “What you are doing is helping people who really need it.”