Fourteen years ago, Dru Devoe got on his Harley Davidson motorcycle and left his home in Florida with only clothes and whatever he could fit in his saddlebags. He landed in the Bay Area and eventually settled in Marin County.
In Florida, Dru owned a restaurant serving typical American fare. In his early days, he was the chef and wore all the hats. But as the business took off, he hired other people to help him. He always loved food. In Marin, he served food to the unhoused as a volunteer at the Ritter Center, which provides wraparound services, including providing food from the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Dru worked odd jobs around the county in between his volunteering.
In 2016, tragedy hit when Dru suffered a stroke. He lost his independence, yet getting help was incredibly challenging. “I used to be very social,” he said. “But the changes in my brain from the stroke gave me extreme social anxiety.”
Dru had savings from the restaurant, but he tore through them during his recovery. Like so many people with large medical bills, he was left virtually penniless. “I had to get on disability,” he said. “But even with that, I could barely pay the rent.”
One day, a friend introduced Dru to Rebecca. She saw the state of his empty fridge, and she gently asked him if he could go shopping, knowing he was having trouble being around people. Rebecca asked if she could help. As luck would have it, she was a volunteer at a food pantry in Marin that also provided home-delivered groceries, in partnership with the Food Bank.
Since then, every week Rebecca brings Dru a bag of healthy food which has been a lifesaver to him. “Those were some lean times before the Food Bank,” he said. “I was losing weight and couldn’t afford to go to the market.
“The food really helps me, and I love all the fruits and vegetables. I change my menu every week, depending on what’s in the bag. My favorites are eggplant for eggplant parmesan or chicken for every kind of recipe: chicken piccata, chicken marsala, or chicken parmesan. Sometimes there’s even fruits and vegetables that I’ve never tried before, so I google them and find new recipes.”
At 62, with the food he gets from the Food Bank, Dru is doing better. He still has significant health problems, but having dependable food makes him feel healthier and helps him keep more of his independence. He feels incredible gratitude.
“A lot of good food goes to waste in this country, so the people who are giving those donations deserve kudos,” said Dru. “A big thank you goes out to everyone at the Food Bank.”