There are many times like right now; I hate how much passion I have in me to fight for what is right. For nearly seven days, I have spent every second of every day barely sleeping fighting for what’s right in our industry. This doesn’t include the fact that we are on day 61 of hell breaking loose in our industry. For over two months, we have all been like marathon runners, or frogs hopping from lily pad to lily pad trying to sustain the next 90 days.
Last Friday, I think the wind came out of our sails when many of us saw the bid awards. Is life fair, no. Should the process have gone the way it did, no? I believe I speak for everyone when I say this was just downright messed up. We always hear about things like this, but we were all misled to believe that this process would be different. I have never in my life to been one to give up, but I know when it is affecting me every second of everyday feeling violated and the need to make this right, I know it is unhealthy. I want to thank all of you who have helped me in this fight, as I could not have made the progress I did without your support. Many of you, just like me, risked your image on the surface, and some below it. All in all, no matter how it was shown, we proved to be an industry in unity friend or foe that no one will try to do this to us.
I believe the deciding factor for me is when I look around my life, I see all the good things in it and the stress no matter how deep the passion is not worth it. I have a fantastic surviving company in which I am leading despite the down economy we are surviving and doing better than most. I have a dedication and commitment to these employees, and while I am doing all this fight, it only further distances me from being available to their needs. It hurts me deeply, also being one who does so much charity work to know how many food banks and people in need will be affected by this process as well as the farmers who will lose. So many companies who needed this labor to meet their PPP loans will also fall in this experiment.
What kills me is the time we all spent in all this. I remembered last week; my kids begged me to play board games with them as I filled out this bid, which I still believe to this day was never opened. I had over 18 hours in this project, as well as the perfect resume and pivot. I believe I would have been able to bring a great deal of value to this program, just as many of you all would have also done. This program had legs to the future of eliminating food waste as well as replenishing food banks. The program will fail, we know that as its too obvious. The subcontracting will take more money away from the farmers and the banks, which completely defeats the program. I am very disappointed in our industry organizations, regardless of whether they tried because it wasn't hard enough. I am very disappointed in my congressional officials, who I feel did not do their due diligence. Most importantly, I have lost faith in the USDA and its lack of integrity. I will gladly offer my services to help them with whatever they need because we are on a lost path.
I am worried about where we are heading, and what this will do to the supply chain and companies on the brink of collapse. Winston Churchill once said, "never give up something you can not go a day without thinking about", but in this case, it is consuming me, which is unhealthy. In closing, I am keeping the faith, but for my sanity, health, company, and family, I am done fighting this losing battle in the manner I have. I am exhausted, and we are fighting something we can not budge, and I hope we all remember that, but keep believing. I am sorry, but I do want you to know I am not giving up faith, just taking a breather and seeing what transpires. I think the industry needs people like so many of us to serve on committees and ensure things like this are given the proper attention going forward.
Take care, everyone, I am always here, and thanks again to all of you that fought. This is not goodbye; it's just that I need to take a little break. Sometimes I like to think also that you do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. I feel this is where I am. I think that if I need to slightly back up without officially giving up. Like I say, and I will leave you with it. My favorite quote by Dr. Seuss, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” We always have to have this mentality, or we will always be back at this predicament.
PS. I will be back stronger than ever.........