Saturday, October 23, 2010

The NHL Is Paying it Forward

by Jan Snyder

What a Great Idea!

The National Hockey League collectively and the individual teams do their share of giving back to the community. Initiatives like Hockey Fights Cancer and Hockey is for Everyone make a big difference. Each team does its share of hospital visits and school visits striving to build awareness and help where they can.

But the program that caught my eye is Rock and Wrap It Up! The NHL has partnered with this organization to fight hunger across the United States and Canada, with all 30 teams involved.

I grew up in a family who wasted nothing! I don’t remember any food ever being thrown away unless it had gone bad. My grandparents immigrated from what was then Czechoslovakia and instilled in their children the importance of sharing and not wasting. Obviously, that mentality was passed down to the grandchildren as well. My grandparents grew all their own vegetables, many fruits and raised chickens. We ate everything they grew including grapes, raspberries, blackberries, pumpkins, bean, peas, etc. My “Bubby” made jelly, juice, preserves, you name it. Her pies were out of this world and she could make anything taste like gourmet food.

So seeing that “waste not, want not” mentality growing up has led me to feel the same way. I hate to see food go to waste especially in an economic climate that finds so many families struggling. I’ve been lucky enough to spend some evenings in suites at different venues. At the end of the evening, more food is leftover than ever should be and I would leave the event feeling badly about that.

But now, through Rock and Wrap It Up!, that’s all changed. The teams are packing up all prepared but unsold concession food on game nights for redistribution to local shelters and places of need. After the first two games in the new Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh alone, 1150 pounds of unsold food found its way to the Pittsburgh Food Bank. What an incredible difference that can make times 30 teams!

Rock and Wrap It Up! was founded by Syd Mandelbaum, who began the program in 1991, by redistributing food leftover after rock concerts. Then the program moved on to the sports venues. Both of Syd’s parents were Holocaust survivors who almost starved to death in Nazi concentration camps as teenagers. The experiences of our elders always leaves it mark on us and Syd decided to try to make a difference in the States, who accepted his parents in 1950, after they spent five years in a displaced persons camp in Germany. Now he is the difference maker for so many people who need help. Pay it forward is a great concept!

If you want to get involved with volunteering in your city, simply visit your team’s website. There is so much to be done that we all have to do our share.

please visit Rock and Wrap it Up's website

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