The glass (and the beer in it) that started my journey with TeamFINNEGANS

July 7, 2016 8:29 am

Featuring guest blogger Giampaolo Malin, TeamFINNEGANS C.A.N. Events Lead


I vividly remember the time, about three years ago, when I discovered FINNEGANS for the first time. I was at Cooper Pub in St. Louis Park, sitting outside on a warm evening ready to have dinner with my wife.

I decided to try a new beer I hadn’t had before and FINNEGANS caught my attention. The beer came in a glass that said “100% OF PROFITS GO TO FEEDING THE HUNGRY” and I thought “how cool is that!” When I got home, I looked up FINNEGANS online and read about its mission and vision and said to myself “I want to be part of this!” Did I mention that the beer I had, the Irish Amber, tasted great?

I discovered that FINNEGANS had a really active group of volunteers, the now famous TeamFINNEGANS, that gets involved in all kind of cool activities and all with the goal of “doing good”: from promoting the beer at events to sampling at liquor stores, from making sandwiches during happy hour to working in our partners’ farm, from collecting food donations with the Reverse Food Truck to packing food at our Food Shelf and Food Bank partners. It’s the latter that inspired me the most and in a matter of weeks I was part of a group of dedicated volunteers who, once a month, visited food shelves. I really liked doing this for a number of reasons: I was helping people in need, I got to meet really cool and like-minded people who wanted to help others, and finally I loved the opportunity to socialize with TeamFINNEGANS volunteers after the event over a cold pint of FINNEGANS. I guarantee that the beer tastes even better after packing food for two hours and while getting to know people or meeting the old volunteers again.

I liked this so much that I started going every month and when Angie asked me if I would be willing to take a leadership position and lead the food packing events I didn’t hesitate a minute. This is how I ended up being the volunteer lead for the Community Action Nights (or C.A.N.). I now recruit volunteers, keep the relationship with our Food Shelf/Food Bank partners which we visit every month, and manage the events. We alternate activities such as filling food bags, repackaging foods donated in bulk into manageable size boxes that are distributes to Food Shelves, and finally some unique events such as tending the grounds at The Food Group’s farm where the fresh food grown is donated to Food Shelves and helping to rescue produce at the Minneapolis Farmers Market.

I love volunteering and being part of TeamFINNEGANS because it’s really rewarding, I feel I can make a tangible difference in helping people who are food insecure, I get to know many cool people, and there is always beer involved: hard to beat. This year FINNEGANS will be celebrating its 16th birthday and we are hoping to be able to reach the ambitious goal of totaling one million dollar donations since we started. You can learn more about the Million Dollar Campaign and support us if you like here.

I’d love if you joined me at one of the upcoming Community Action Night events (next one is on July 17th). You can learn about all the different volunteering opportunities with TeamFINNEGANS on the FINNEGANS events page.

Here’s to doing good!
Giampaolo Malin

Giampaolo can be reached at giampaolo@finnegans.org and you can follow him on Twitter @jump_tech


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