Ed Evans, Cordova Community Food Locker
Many centuries ago, one of the Greek philosophers observed that "Hunger knows no friend but its feeder."
When you're hungry, all you want and need is food. That very simple truth is faced each week in our town by the Cordova Community Food Locker.
Nobody knows the truth of this better than Ed Evans, who at the young age of 82, has spent the last 24 years filling empty bellies with remarkable gentleness.
When a lot of us think of hunger, we think of it as something that happens in other places - in distant countries where droughts or famine compel us to donate money and oblige our government to send relief workers and food aid.
In reality, hunger also hits much closer to home.
In fact, the US Department of Agriculture says 17.4 million American families - that's almost 15 percent of U.S. households - are "food insecure."
That's up almost 30 percent since 2006.
Workers at the Cordova Community Food Locker say the 30 percent figures applies here, too. Which makes Ed Evans' work more important than ever.
Ed has been working to feed hungry families who come to the Cordova Food Locker for nearly a quarter century. What started as a retirement gig has become a passion to serve the hungry in our community without judgment, but with love and kindness.
For many years, Ed carried on this work with the assistance of his beloved wife, Ruth, a skilled cardiac nurse. She and Ed raised five children together, including two adopted kids, and it was a sad day for all of Rancho Cordova when Ruth passed on.
But Ed continues to persevere, a happy warrior, leading his troops of volunteers. Most of them are well into the sunset years themselves. But it's a time when the priorities of life become well-sorted and great purpose is found in providing service to others.
Melanie Rochin, who works with Ed at the Food Locker, described Ed as the most patient and kind man she has ever met. She told us:
"He just keeps going, he never complains. He is a gentle man who is always pleasant to those in need, telling them he's glad they came and that's what he's here for. I have learned a lot about being a decent human being by watching Ed and other volunteers at the Food Locker."
Ed toils away at his mission whether the Food Locker is open or closed and makes untold trips back to unlock its heavy doors to respond to a single cry for help.
He has set up distribution to seniors and needy who reside in Rancho Cordova mobile home parks.
Ed and the other volunteers at the Food Locker passed the one million people fed mark several years ago and are still at it.
He is a familiar sight around Rancho Cordova, behind the wheel of his big yellow truck, an America flag waving from the antenna.
Melanie said this: "Ed's whole life continues to be centered on those in need in our growing community. Ed is the finest example of someone who gives back first and seldom thinks of himself."
Ed Evans does not have a lot of money or live in a big house. He doesn't have a fancy education. What he does have is a big heart, open to helping people.
Mother Teresa once said: "If you can't feed a hundred people, just feed one."
She also said this: "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."
Ed Evans has done both.
Ed, congratulations and thank you for your Distinguished Community Service.
While others will argue about the causes and cures for poverty and hunger, you have stayed above it all, feeding hungry people in Rancho Cordova, one day, one mouth at a time.