Getting to know Tom Knapp, Feed the Hungry San Miguel Volunteer

Tom Knapp, one of the many dedicated volunteers for Feed the Hungry (FTHSMA), is a substitute driver, or he likes to call it “backup” driver, for the organization. He kindly offered to take Ross along with him on one of his trips to deliver food to Tres Palmas Primary School. Ross got to know Tom relatively well during this trip so we thought we would take a few minutes to introduce him to you as well. (For the complete story on Ross’s visit with Feed the Hungry click here.)

Tom Knapp is a substitute driver for Feed the Hungry San Miguel.

Q: Where are you from?
A: I was raised in the small farming community of Prescott, Iowa. After graduating from Iowa State University, I spent some time in the Los Angeles area before settling down in Littleton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver. My wife, Linda, who also volunteers, was raised in Littleton.

Q: How long have you been volunteering?
A: We have been volunteering about 8–10 years, mostly since we began spending winters in San Miguel, now our full-time home.

A: Why do you volunteer?
Q: We volunteer to try to effect some improvements in the lifestyle and well-being of those who are much less privileged than ourselves. The people here, especially in the countryside, live a tough and spartan life. It does not take much on our part to significantly impact others.

“When I first started driving for Feed the Hungry, I met a young boy at a school I did a ride along for, just like you’re doing. I asked him what he had for breakfast that day, and he said it wasn’t his day to eat. That just killed me inside, and I knew then I wanted to help.” — Tom Knapp

Q: How did he hear about FTHMSA?
A: One would have to be very obtuse not to hear about FTHSMA here in San Miguel. Upon our arrival, we met many people who had been heavily involved for years. It is very easy to jump right in and try to help.

“At this school, they run out to my car to get the food,” Knapp said. “Sometimes I don’t even have anything to carry, they get it all in for me!”

Q: What motivates you to drive an hour, if not more, to bring food to these schools?
A: The chief motivation is the gratitude evidenced by the children, their parents and teachers. The investment that we volunteers make in time and money is extremely small in comparison — we are able to make these families’ lives better.

Yes, for a retiree to get up before dawn and drive on tough roads for one to two hours does require motivation. But, honestly, that is not hard to come by when you think about the individuals you’re helping and lives you’re impacting.

Feed the Hungry San Miguel estimates that by the end of this year they will have served more than million meals to hungry children. Feed the Hungry became the first non-profit in San Miguel de Allende to receive certification for transparency and philanthropic accountability by El Centro Mexicano para la Filantropía (CEMEFI ). For more information, visit their website http://feedthehungrysma.org/ or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

“No child in San Miguel shall know the pain of hunger.”

Click here to support Feed the Hungry San Miguel.