When Lisa and Lee Wesner moved to Rhode Island more than ten years ago, they decided to find a way to give back to the new community that had welcomed them. As successful professionals, they felt it was important to support a local organization that had a direct impact on people in need.
Lisa doesn’t remember exactly how her family first became connected to the Food Bank. She said, “I think it was as simple as getting a flyer (about the Food Bank) in the mail and we decided to look into it.”
The Rhode Island Community Food Bank was an easy choice for the Wesners. After researching the organization’s finances, they took a tour and decided that it was the right fit for their charitable giving.
As Lisa explained, “Every dollar we give has such a direct impact in such a tangible way. The operation is so well run. We value how efficiently the Food Bank is able to take food in and allocate it to people in need.”
Ten years later the Wesners are parents and they want to instill in their two children, Lila, 8 and Luke, 6, a sense of giving back to the community through the Food Bank. “We want our children to understand what we’re doing. Even if it’s as simple as explaining that we’re helping to make sure that everyone has food. Hunger is something that they get. They can really understand it.”
The children have visited the Food Bank to drop off food and donations and they have attended events like the Sing Away Hunger Concert and the Holiday Open House where Luke remembers “taking food and sorting it into bins.” At school, they participate in the holiday food drive and they are taught how important it is for every-one to have access to healthy, nutritious food.
“When we talk about the Food Bank,” said Lisa, “they take away the sense that there is an opportunity for us to do something different to help others. That message is important to us and it’s reinforced in their school.”
On their recent visit to the Food Bank, they were having fun weighing themselves on the giant scales, but there was much more going on. When asked about his family’s support of the Food Bank, Luke explained: “I feel happy because I am donating.”
The Wesners hope that they have laid the groundwork for their children to continue to volunteer and give back to the community. It seems like they’re off to a great start.