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Embracing Life as an Empty Nester

I woke up one day and found that I am indeed an empty nester. With one daughter in school in NYC and the other attending University of Maine, I have found myself with two empty bedrooms and a great amount of time to myself. After cleaning out both rooms and turning one into my office–which I’m happily sitting in now while I write this–I started thinking about how to fill my time.


I have a full-time job with Table to Table, a non-profit food rescue organization, which keeps me busy, but what do I do with all these extra hours that I have found? Thankfully, I don’t have to stray far from what I know.


Table to Table has this incredible app called I-Rescue, that connects volunteers, looking for random hours, to do something meaningful. The app is downloaded onto your phone and almost immediately, you start receiving notifications of rescues available in your area to claim.
Once I determine that I am available, I claim it and off I go! I pick up from Wawa in North Bergen and Whole Foods in Edgewater and I drop off the food at our recipient partners close by. On the weekends I might end up at the Whole Foods in Weehawken or the Trader Joe’s in Clifton. Since I have more time on the weekends, I don’t mind traveling a bit further.


While I love seeing the generosity of the donors and chatting a bit with them, I really love meeting with the recipient partner agencies. I might deliver to a local church feeding the hungry or a group home in my own neighborhood where a small group of autistic teens and their aides live 24/7.
Through my volunteering for Table to Table’s I-Rescue, I have met so many other incredible volunteers giving so much of themselves every day in so many ways. Meeting them invigorates me! It reminds me of all the truly good there is out there. I miss my girls more than I can explain, but I’m keeping busy by volunteering…and Christmas break is only 106 days away. Not that I’m counting or anything.

Written by Julie Kinner, Empty Nester & Table to Table’s VP of Operations

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