The FoodCorps Schlep

Schlep /SHlep/


1. haul or carry (something heavy or awkward).

Example: “She schlepped her garden supplies back and forth all day long.”


1. a tedious or difficult journey.

2. another term for schlepper

When I was younger, my Jewish grandfather used to tease me by kvetching in Yiddish. We were very close — so close in fact that he was the one who taught me the meaning of putz and how to use it against the boys at school. He was the epitome of schmaltzy: excessively sentimental, gushing, and over-the-top. As Jewish guilt goes, he had that down too. I would call him up, ask how he was doing and he would say something like, “Oy vey, if I were doing any better I’d be perfect!”

With his enthusiasm, sarcasm, and loving energy, my grandpa taught me several important Yiddish words, including what it means to schlep. I think he would be happy — and probably a little worried — to know that I am schleppin’ it every day as a FoodCorps service member.

Have you heard of what’s affectionately called the FoodCorps schlep? It sounds like a strange dance move, but it actually has a lot more chutzpah than that. If you’re a parent, or a teacher, or a soccer coach, or a FoodCorps service member, you’re probably a schlepper without even knowing it! When you stuff your car full of items like bags of concrete, a fence, compost, several Home Depot buckets, a cooler with food items for a nutrition lesson, several white boards, and there are crayons strewn about the floors, cracks and crevices of your Subaru Forester — you have made it to the land of schlep, my friend!

Every day is a mystery in terms of whether I’ll be able to see out my back window or if I’ll be able to carry everything into class in one go. The song of the shovels bouncing together as we drive from school to school remind me of this mystery and makes me laugh. When I leave the windows cracked for the worms in the vermicomposter, I know that this schlep is all too real.

elena-schleppin#FoodCorpsSchlep #SchleppinIt

Not everyone had a grandpa like mine who sprinkled his speech with Yiddish, but everyone can relate to the FoodCorps Schlep. That language is universal!