By Darren Simon
12:34 PM PST, December 19, 2011
It is a busy time for Sara Griffen as Thanksgiving draws near. As executive director of the Imperial Valley Food Bank, there is much to accomplish, goals to be met, hungry people — many of whom suffer in silence of their plight — to be helped.
In the weeks leading up to the holiday, the Food Bank will be hosting a luncheon for clergy to create stronger ties with area churches. Then, the Food Bank will be hosting an El Centro Chamber mixer to raise awareness about the work done by the Food Bank and its needs, especially during this holiday season.
Griffen will also be giving presentations, just like the one she has scheduled with the Brawley Rotary Club later during this day.
Then, there is the campaign to raise as many turkeys as possible for the many people in the Imperial Valley who might not otherwise be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, save for the help they receive from the Food Bank.
Last year, the Food Bank provided 535 turkeys to needy families. This year, Griffen wants to raise 1,000 turkeys.
Through all of the work, Griffen is motivated by her faith and — hope. Through all the frustrations that go along with an unending task where ultimately it is next to impossible to completely wipe out “food insecurities” in Imperial County, Griffen says there is hope. She sees it every day through her staff, the volunteers and through the donations from the community. She sees it in the 20,000 people helped monthly. She holds onto that hope. It helps her to see she is doing the work she was meant to do and that the Food Bank does make a difference.
“I feel like I have in some way been called to this,” Griffen says. “Some days it is easy to come to work; some days it is hard, but I do feel like I am in the right place.”
It’s been a long journey for Griffen, 49, a mother of two college students and wife of the Rev. Ron Griffen of the First United Methodist Church, to reach this point where she heads an organization that daily reaches out to those struggling against poverty.
It’s a journey that has led her into a profession she never would have imagined for herself when she was fresh out of college, a young woman on her way toward a potentially glamorous career in the New York fashion industry.
Read more about Sara Griffen in the November/December 2011 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
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