Once a week, I have the great pleasure of being part of a small team that receives food from that most generous of organizations, Second Helpings.

We clean, organize and bag that food for the needy people of Bluffton and its surroundings.

When that truck arrives, it’s like Christmas. We never know what we’ll get, how much, or what condition it will be in, but we’re ready for anything.

The ladies of the team are pretty much in charge of the fruits and vegetables, all of summer’s glorious bounty. We know what to do and how to do it.

For some unknown reason, the radish has become my specialty.

After eight months of doing this, I find myself in awe of those little red vegetables. They can end up on the bottom of 30 pounds of heavy produce and still survive.

Pity the poor kiwi, with its hairy, ugly skin. It crushes under the least bit of pressure.

The apples and oranges make it through pretty well, but we’d expect them to; they have some staying power.

Pears are so gentle; we usually lose most of them.

Lettuces can be tricky, as can the tomatoes.

But the radishes . . . Oh sure, they need their messy greens cut off, but then with a good washing, they’re perky again, bright red and fresh as daisies.

I’ve never had to say goodbye to a single one. And I never want to. I admire their stability, their sturdiness, their determination to survive.

If only they could give lessons to some of their more vulnerable kin.

But, alas, they are unique. I love getting my hands around them on Monday mornings, watching them recover from a hard trip and enjoying their revival.

If only I could inherit just a tiny bit of their strength. Maybe if I’m lucky and keep at it, a little will seep, like osmosis, through my fingers.

Sallie Collins enjoys living on the banks of the May River and writes about it in her blog, www.LifeOnTheMay.com, from which this article is taken.