Words From Our Founder, Sam Polk

Yesterday was a huge milestone for us: WE BROUGHT TOGETHER 8 FAMILIES FOR OUR FIRST EVER GROCERYSHIPS MEETING, IN SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES 

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Parents came with their children, both young and high-school age. We handed out binders. I talked about how grateful we were for their presence, and how together we might co-create something that could potentially spread far and wide. Then the meeting began. There were a few readings, then we moved to introductions. There was a lot of nervousness and maybe even some skepticism. As the hour progressed, walls came down, and people started laughing. The high-school kids seemed particularly eager to learn to eat healthier. When Angela—our head of programming & marketing—demonstrated how to make a simple salad, her bubbly energy had everyone laughing while we all chopped, served and ate. When we got to the emotional support segment, things got real. We adhere to a strict code of confidentiality, so I can’t reveal what was said. But I can tell you that we were all in tears by the end. We passed out grocery gift cards, and new Forks Over Knives DVDs, and said goodbye. 

There were definitely some hiccups—a fire alarm repeatedly going off—but overall it was a great night. On a personal level, I felt honored at our families willingness to trust us even a small bit. I am committed to earning their trust more fully over time. This was a big day for our organization, the moment where the seed of an idea that first sprouted between Kirsten, Joe Spiccia and I, and then grew into a fragile stalk nurtured by a core group of supporters, finally opened up it’s first flower. It’s still a fragile little thing—but beautiful.

To my mind, the biggest cost of the obesity crisis is not spiraling healthcare costs, but the emotional toll borne by dads who watch their overweight children get teased, by mom’s who try to set a healthy example but are losing their own personal battle and, of course, by the kids themselves. We are preparing for the next two pilot programs, via Homeboy Industries and St. John’s, and we could use your help. Together we are not only going to put healthy food on the table for some families, but we are also going to empower them with the education and support to change their relationship with food, and navigate a toxic food environment. Empowering parents will help the children, who will then help their children, and so on for generations to come. We at Groceryships also know that we are receiving more from these families than they are from us, and we are honored and grateful to be let in, in some small way, into their lives.  

Thank you world.

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Sam Polk