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  • Writer's pictureRosa Hernandez

Ride Along with Tim: Delivering Hope One Route at a Time

Tim in front of a Waste Not truck in the back of a store.
Tim at his first stop.

In the early hours of a Thursday morning, while most are still tucked in bed, Tim Hunt is already hitting the road. Starting his route at 5 am sharp, Tim knows that time is of the essence when it comes to delivering food to those in need. With seven stores to pick up from, he understands that an early start is crucial to ensure that the food reaches the agencies in time to make a difference in someone's day.

And on this particular Thursday morning, I decided to ride along.

Tim's journey with Waste Not spans over six and a half years, a journey that began with an interview with the then-executive director, Dee Mitten on a Monday, and a swift start the very next day. 

Reflecting on his interview with Dee, Tim remembers her words vividly: "You will be amazed not only by the amount, but the quality of the donations." 

“And she was right,” Tim states as we drive along Camelback road in Phoenix. “Most people think we just get scraps, but that’s not the case.”

From stores like Fry’s, AJ’s, and Whole Foods, Waste Not collects fresh produce, pre-made meals, meats, cheeses, eggs, and more. Waste Not's partnerships with businesses extend beyond eliminating food waste; they prioritize providing quality food with dignity and respect to the community.

Asian Style chicken, grapes, and a box of vegetables
Food picked up during Tim's route.

After six hours of driving, sorting, and loading under the rising temperatures of another premature summer here in Arizona, Tim and I head to our first drop-off point - Native American Connections (NAC). 

On the way to the agency, Tim is excited for me to meet “Stan the Man”. As soon as we arrive, Stan meets us as Tim begins his process of unloading. Without skipping a beat after “hello”, Stan and Tim are joking and laughing with one another. 

Two men in front of a Waste Not truck.
Stan and Tim

“He’s one of the most hard-working people I’ve met. He’s communicative, responsible, and reliable,” Stan says about Tim. “We need more people like him.”

After NAC, we’re off to Hope Lives, where members and volunteers alike shower Tim with praise for his efforts. Finally, we stop by Transitional Living Communities in Glendale, where Tim and the clients of TLC josh around with each other. They even include me asking if I’ve been giving Tim a hard time and how I should go easy on him in my review because “he’s a good guy” , says one member. 

On the way back to park our truck, Tim and I talk baseball.

Beyond being a professional driver for Waste Not and an Arizonan for over 19 years, Tim has been an umpire for three decades. He has officiated games at every level, from little league to high school, even rubbing shoulders with legendary players at fantasy camps. And as someone who never even knew what constitutes an inning - Tim was more than willing to share his passion with me. I now know about Ricky Henderson, what a top and a bottom of an inning are, and what a knuckleball is.

Waste Not truck parked in a parking lot.
Waste Not truck

As Tim parks the truck, he lets me know that we collected  2200 pounds of food. 2200 pounds of good, nutritious food that would have gone to waste in a landfill if it had not been for Tim. 2200 pounds of food that went to feed families, individuals, and children who would have otherwise struggled to put food on the table. 

If you're inspired by Tim's story and want to support Waste Not's efforts, consider making a donation today. Together, we can ensure that good food continues to reach those who need it most, one route at a time.

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