A Simple Gesture: The Green Bag Food Donation Program

A Simple Gesture: The Green Bag Food Donation Program

A simple gesture can go a long way toward making a difference in our community! The gesture can be a smile or a “hello” to someone you don’t yet know, an act of kindness, or a courtesy like holding the door open for someone with their hands full. Similar to “the butterfly effect” describing how small causes can have large effects in our environment, each simple gesture brightens the day of another and creates a ripple effect that helps lift our city. It’s no coincidence, then, that a program of Memphians Care, called “A Simple Gesture” is making it easy for us to lift our city and those in need.

Memphians Care is a local nonprofit started by William Gotten in 2014. Gotten had grown tired of seeing negative news steal the headlines and wanted to combat that by showcasing how Memphians are “kind, caring, and generous people.” So, he started a civic-pride-building campaign with the slogan, “Memphians are the real Memphis!” Over the last couple of years, Gotten and his team of volunteers have become even more active, creating the program, “A Simple Gesture,” also known as the “Green Bag” food donation program.

Here’s how it works: Memphians Care provides you with a re-usable green bag into which you put nonperishable items that Mid-South Food Bank needs, like canned soup, chili, rice, canned vegetables, etc.  When you go to the grocery store for your own provisions, simply pick up some items on the list and put them in your green bag. Every other month, place your bag on your front porch and a volunteer will come by, pick it up, and leave you another to restart the process. Volunteers take all the bags and any checks or money collected to Mid-South Food Bank.

This past year, Memphians provided over 6,000 pounds of food; and just last month, they collected and delivered over 1,200 pounds. Any donations to Memphians Care are used to buy green bags and grow the program. More than 100 households and businesses now participate. There are no salaries and Gotten and his volunteers use their own cars, gas, and time. They pick up on the 2nd Friday of every other month in February, April, June, August, October, and December. They’ll pick up on April 7th this year since Good Friday falls on the 14th and Mid-South Food Bank will be closed.

The goal for 2017 is to collect over 7,000 pounds of food. So, make a simple gesture and become a Green Bagger by emailing William Gotten at wmgotten@bellsouth.net.

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