As a married, father of three teenage sons with a full-time job as an Executive Vice President of Business Development and Marketing of a tech company, Brodie Wise is a busy man. Despite all of his responsibilities, Brodie manages to find time to drum up carloads of donations for his local food pantries.
Brodie is the ultimate breakfast hype man. He focuses on collecting cereal, something kids love that will feed a family for more than just one meal. His social media is filled with videos of himself at the grocery store encouraging others to join his mission or to donate money. Photos of him with shopping carts piled high with food keep people updated on his #Roadto10000 goal. After all, he is a marketing expert.
Whether he’s whipping up a meal for his family or filling the shelves at a pantry, Brodie knows the importance of food. It’s vital to our everyday lives, but it also can be a source of great joy and can bring people together. At the end of the day, his work does all of these things and more; he inspires the people around him to lend their fellow citizens a helping hand.
What inspires you to volunteer?
I feel it’s my responsibility to give back to the community. Anyone who is privileged, anyone who receives or works hard and makes money… We have a responsibility to help the people that are less fortunate. It’s ingrained in me. It’s part of my faith.
Describe your volunteer role with local food pantries.
When I started doing this, I was supporting up to four pantries. I volunteer and spend my own money, but I also get other people to volunteer, help out, donate and so on. Right now, I’m pretty much only serving St. Jude’s. I focus on cereal, because when you donate to a pantry, you can give a bunch of different things, but that actually isn’t as helpful as if you bring all of the same thing.
So, I focus on cereal. It makes me think of my kids eating it. It’s easy to relate to. It’s fun to talk about. And it gives other people something to grab onto. If I show up when they’re doing packing, I will pack bags and help them get ready for distribution. If I’m available on a Saturday, I’ll distribute food to the people that come. At one point, I would dress up as a blow-up turkey on Thanksgiving when we were giving out food to make it a little bit more lighthearted.
How did you originally get involved, and why is it so important to you?
When it comes down to it, people need to eat. And when the pandemic set in, and I was sitting at home hearing about people not working and not having food, it just broke my heart.
It breaks my heart seeing a family that’s struggling to feed their kids when I have been blessed that I can provide for my family. So, I go to the store, and things that I would buy from my own kids, I buy for the pantry.
Tell me about #Roadto10000.
Everybody needs goals. I set a goal each year to donate 10,000 boxes of cereal. My first year, I ended up donating 10,800 boxes. The only way you can do that is if other people engage with you. The hashtag helps keep people updated.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
It’s seeing the engagement of other people. One of the things I try to do is get people to bring their families to help out. There’s a family that just came within the past couple of weeks. He and his two children, six and four, have been packing bags.
When you see people thrive and do more for the people around you, it’s the most wonderful feeling. Getting other people to get out of their comfort zone to give back to the community and help the people around us…it changes you.
What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
You can’t get disappointed. What I mean by that is people are people. Some people are going to come through. Some people you can count on to do things. And you can only do the best that you can do. If you step up, people are going to see it. They’re going to want to be a part of it. They’re going to want to want to help.
Why is it important for others to get involved in causes they care about?
It goes back to my original thing. I feel it’s our responsibility as human beings to help the people that are less fortunate in whatever way that is. My friend’s company donates about 15% of their profits to charitable organizations. Instead of pocketing money and just getting things for themselves, they’re using money to help the people around them. If more people did that, it would have a huge impact.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
It doesn’t take a lot to give. It just takes that extra minute. It becomes a thought process. It becomes part of your daily routine. I hope people see me as an example of change and use that to make it a normal routine for themselves.
Instead of just going to the grocery store, maybe the routine is buying two of something that’s on sale and donating one. When you make it part of your life, it becomes ingrained in how you live, how you talk, how you share. I want to see change in people. There’s so much more that all of us can do.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like Brodie? Find local volunteer opportunities.