It's impossible to measure how many lives John Arnold touched, or how many people he reached out to, or how much food he put on the tables of hungry families.
The former executive director of Feeding America died Sunday after a six-year battle with prostate cancer.
Wiping out hunger was more than just a job for John, it was his passion, and it started at a young age.
He told the story over and over again about how, as a seven-year-old Boy Scout, he saw an elderly woman digging for food out of a Dumpster.
"I freaked, somebody's grandmother eating garbage," said Arnold. "I have never been quite the same person since."
At 17, he went to war, serving as a Marine in Vietnam, fighting in an area called the Arizona Territory, named that because it looked like a desert - the jungle destroyed by Agent Orange. At the time, he didn't think much about being exposed to the chemicals. Besides, once he got home, there was too much to do.
He got his degree from William James College, now known as Grand Valley State University.
John was working as a paralegal in Springfield, Ill., when he started one of the first food banks in the United States.
A true pioneer in food banking, he set out to change the way charity food systems worked.
In 1989, John moved to Grand Rapids and took over as executive director of what was then called Second Harvest Food Gleaners.
That's when his reputation as a "maverick" really kicked in.
First, he changed the way food was collected, tracking down millions of pounds of food that was going to waste, tossed out because of misprinted packages or smudged labels.
John sent trucks across the country to pick up food and bring it to West Michigan. Then, he revolutionized the way that food was distributed with a common-sense approach: let people choose the food they want, the food they'll eat, instead of giving them a pre-packaged, one-size-fits all bag.
Always wiping away a tear, John would explain that the least we can do when people are hurting is let them keep their dignity.
John dedicated the next three decades of his life to ending hunger. His methods became the blueprint for food banking around the world.
Then in 2006, he received devastating news.
John was diagnosed with an advanced form of prostate cancer, linked to his exposure to agent orange in Vietnam.
He called it a distraction. The ex-Marine vowed to fight two battles at once, one against hunger, the other against time.
In December of 2010, he stepped down as executive director of Feeding America.
He spent the past year focused, for the first time, on himself. John spent time with family, reflecting on his life and the countless lives he changed.
He's leaving us with a challenge to pick up where he left off.
"We can't solve all the world's problems, divorces and fires and things, but we can sure make sure nobody in West Michigan goes hungry, and that's what I'm all about," Arnold said.
John leaves behind his wife, Jeanne, and son Jeff.