Day 101: Neighbors helping neighbors

Sometimes all it takes is an idea, and the desire to help.

Ruth Schwartz and Curt Kinkead noticed that some of the neighbors in their low-income complex were struggling to buy food and “We just saw the need and decided to fill it,” Ruth remembers.

The concept is unique- Ruth and Curt made arrangements to gather fresh food donations from local stores (items like bread, meats, vegetables, fruits) that had expired or aged and couldn’t be sold in the stores. They took the food to the residents of the complex, who then divide it amongst themselves, sharing the most with those most in need. Using this weekly sharing process, they were hoping to keep food bills at $100 a month, or less for the most needy neighbors. Their idea worked.

They soon had enough donations that they decided to share the idea of neighbors sharing with neighbors to other complexes where seniors were struggling, and “Respecting Our Elders” was born.

“Above all, Respecting Our Elders is building community by forcing complexes to come together as communities to deal with the incoming food, and it is these unfettered communities that do the distribution, making a profound difference in the lives of entire complexes of the most underserved needy in our society today.”

Ruth and Curt are in the process of finishing a guidebook for others interested in starting a community food sharing group.  Their concern and courage to take a step to help those struggling to make ends meet will certainly help many other communities.

Learn more at

This entry was posted in Making a Difference and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Day 101: Neighbors helping neighbors

  1. Kate Kresse says:

    fabulous, Deb. Thanks for sharing this! My parish does this, too–they have convinced multiple grocery stores to participate. It makes such a huge difference!

  2. Nice to hear others are doing this too….such a great idea! Every little bit helps these days, and it just takes someone with courage enough to step out and ask the stores to help (I’m sure they would much rather donate than throw it way too!).

    Thanks for sharing Kate!

  3. Caddo Veil says:

    This is SO great! I do it on a much much smaller scale: I love to cook, and can’t possibly eat or even freeze all I make/bake–so my neighbors are usually the happy recipients. The whole deal blesses me, from shopping to cooking to giving it away.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s