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Firefighting’s Finest: True Hunger Heroes

You’re moving! Between the bubble wrap and the 20 boxes you still need to pack, the last thing on your mind is cleaning out the kitchen pantry. In all of the hustle and bustle, that leftover food often ends up in the trash. That’s where Firefighting’s Finest Moving and Storage comes in. During moves, staff pack up unused nonperishable food items and deliver them to Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB). Their work helps TAFB provide access to nutritious food for hungry North Texans.

Active and retired firefighters, as well as friends and family of firefighters, make up the Firefighting’s Finest team. David Peterson, a retired captain of the Fort Worth Fire Department, heads up the company’s work with TAFB.

“There are lots of people who don’t eat very much every day,” said David. “There really shouldn’t be anybody in America that’s hungry.”

Delivering Hope for Hungry Neighbors

Firefighting’s Finest partners with Move for Hunger, a nonprofit working to fight hunger and reduce food waste across the country. When someone calls Firefighting’s Finest to schedule a move, David is usually the first point of contact. That’s when he lets them know about the opportunity to donate their unused food.

“A lot of people react to that,” said David. “They say things like ‘We think it’s really neat that you do that’ and ‘I’ve got some food right there.'”

In addition to delivering food donations from moves, Firefighting’s Finest helps TAFB with food drive pickups. Nate Starmer, TAFB project coordinator, said the company is a big support to TAFB throughout the year. In fact, said Stephen Raeside, TAFB senior director of development, that support adds up to dollars saved to fund the organization’s mission.

“It costs us $45 an hour to operate one of our trucks,” said Stephen. “The money we save allows us to distribute more food to families in need.”

Hunger Heroes in Action

During the busy holiday food drive season, Firefighting’s Finest picks up thousands of pounds of donations and delivers them to TAFB. In 2016, more than 67,000 pounds of food made its way to TAFB as a result of the company’s efforts. That’s more than 55,800 nutritious meals.

“Firefighting’s Finest has been a great help over the years,” said Bo Soderbergh, TAFB executive director. “We can’t thank them enough for the time and energy they put into supporting our work.”

David said about 20 Firefighting’s Finest moving trucks and 50 or 60 staff work on moving jobs across Fort Worth every day. When he hears of a food drive donation pickup, he works to line things up with staff already in the area. “It’s just a great vehicle to be able to use our moving trucks and our guys to do events and gather food from the moves we do.”

An Event with a Mission

On Sunday, March 19, Firefighting’s Finest is holding its 3rd annual Pull for Hunger event. The company teamed up with Move for Hunger and Rahr and Sons Brewing Company to organize the event. Guests are invited to come and watch as teams compete to see who can pull a 26-foot truck in the fastest time.

General admission is $10 or 10 canned goods or boxes of nonperishable food. All food donations benefit TAFB. In addition to watching the truck-pulling fun, guests can enjoy food from local food trucks and live music. “It’s a fun four hours,” said David. He shared that he plans to be there to show support for his team.

David said that before joining Firefighting’s Finest, he was aware of the issue of hunger, but didn’t have a lot of free time to focus on it. “Now that it’s in the course of my job, it’s easy for me to do and I like the fact that it gives me the opportunity to help out,” said David. “Everybody should support something that’s meaningful in the world that’s outside of their little comfort zone.”