Farewell From ExtraFood Founder Marv Zauderer
December 16, 2021
Dear ExtraFood Community,
As I reflect on these past 8 years, and step away from ExtraFood tomorrow with Will Dittmar now leading the organization, this is what is most present for me: the phenomenal people I’ve been blessed to work with, how I’ve been so deeply touched by so many, and how I’ve grown from knowing you.
First, the vulnerable people we’ve served together, like:
- Laura in West Marin, who had never received food assistance in her life and at first felt embarrassed, then began receiving food from our program and became an ExtraFood volunteer, taking her kids with her on pickups and deliveries to show them that there are many, many people in Marin who struggle, and it is nothing to be ashamed of – and then, a few months later, Laura’s husband finding a job and the family no longer needing to receive our food. We were a “hand up” for Laura’s family just when they needed it.
- Sarah in Novato, living at a senior housing center and volunteering to help distribute the food we deliver there, telling me that she moved there when she lost her house in the mortgage crisis in 2009 and at that point lost her faith in her community; being part of our food program, she told me, restored her faith in her community.
- And 500 people in COVID-positive families in the Canal district of San Rafael receiving meals from ExtraFood, telling us things like “because of you, we were able to get through this.”
From you I learned to deepen my empathy and understanding. Thank you.
Next, the 750 ExtraFood volunteers, wonderful people like Lynne and Ellen, Hank, Sarah, Curt, Marv L, Don, Lee, Gary, Dennis and Vickie, Joan and Mike and so many, many more. So many who have been with us from the very beginning, and each one of you who has helped us along the way. Every single delivery made a difference. I know all of you had a choice of where to apply your time, energy, and talents, and I feel so lucky and grateful that you chose ExtraFood. I have learned so much about service from all of you.
Our food partners – 300 food donors and 146 nonprofit distribution partners, literally thousands of staff members in those organizations working with us toward common goals. Thank you for your tireless collaboration. Because of you, I became a better community organizer and a better partner.
Our funders – individuals, families, foundations, government organizations, and corporate partners. ExtraFood runs on generosity, and I’ve had the great blessing of standing in the middle of many rivers of generosity in this extraordinary community. Especially at this time of year I am acutely aware that we simply cannot do what we do, and cannot expand our impact to meet more of the need, without the support you give us. Thank you for allowing me to see your beautiful and generous hearts – you have deepened mine.
Our small but mighty staff and our exceptional Board – you are the best team I have ever been a part of. Thank you for your hard work, for constantly improving ExtraFood and increasing our impact, and for building a wonderful organization together. Because of you, I have become a better leader.
The vision we have held for ExtraFood together has been threefold:
- With the words of the great Bryan Stevenson ringing in our ears – “The opposite of poverty is not wealth. The opposite of poverty is justice.” – it is a vision of food justice: Everyone in our community should have the food they need.
- It is a vision of climate action: Food waste and its massive impact on the climate crisis must end.
- And it is a vision of community: By mobilizing an entire community we can solve these problems of food waste and hunger, and by working together, sharing struggles together, and sharing food together we build community in Marin.
I am honored to have carried that vision with you. Thank you for supporting me, challenging me, and believing in me on this journey.
As I switch careers to community singing leadership – and, because that will be a slow build, I’ll be doing some management consulting and executive coaching as well – I hope you will stay in touch. You can reach me at Marv@SingWithMarv.com.
I’m feeling, at this time, these lines from a song, For Good, from the Broadway show Wicked: It well may be that we will never meet again, but I do believe I have been changed for the better. Because I knew you – because I knew you – I have been changed for good.