Over the past 10 years, we have had the privilege of building relationships with so many incredible people as we seek to foster connection among our community. Mark and Connie Bond are a couple of those incredible people who have very generously given of their time and hearts to OneGenAway, and in honor of our 10th anniversary, they have shared a couple stories of connection that have personally impacted their lives.

Back in 2019, when we first started to share food in Panama City, Florida, following Hurricane Michael, Mark and Connie Bond were among our many volunteers.

Mark met a couple who had been living in a tent since the hurricane, and he walked with them and their cart of food to the parking lot, where they awaited an Uber to pick them up.

“The couple was very concerned about keeping the cart until their Uber arrived and asked me to empty the cart and put the groceries on the ground so I could go back in line to serve someone else,” Mark said.

But Mark refused to leave them waiting alone. He knew, in this moment, that connection was more important. They talked for 40 minutes until the Uber arrived and hugged on their departure. Mark said he continually notices how much each person receiving food cares for and about their neighbors — something we should all strive for on a deeper level.

One of Connie’s favorite moments of connection came in Waverly, Tennessee, following a major flood in 2021. On this particularly cold day at our Mobile Pantry, OneGenAway had blankets to give away in addition to food.

Connie was pushing a cart full of food — and a blanket — and preparing to load it into a woman’s trunk.

“When it was time to load the car, I asked the woman driving the vehicle if she would like the blanket in the front seat with her. Her face lit up!” Connie said.

The woman was so excited to receive a new blanket that she stepped out of her car to give Connie a hug.

“It was so humbling to see the impact of a blanket in addition to the food,” Connie said.

These moments of connection may be small, but sometimes the smallest things stick with us the longest. We are so grateful for every small moment we get with one another as we seek to make our community a more supportive place for all.

Over the past 10 years, there have been so many stories just like these. Each person who has served at our Mobile Pantry knows it’s a special place with incredibly special people.

We hope you will join us in celebrating all of these stories and the many stories to come at our 10th Anniversary Spring Breakfast on Friday, May 12. Click here to learn more about the event.