Helping the Hungry: Volunteering at a Food Bank

We are in the downswing of fall. The weather is getting colder and days are becoming shorter. Despite the falling temperatures and dreary winter ambiance of brown and gray swiftly approaching, this is the season of cheer, accompanied by the spirit of giving.Food Bank

Volunteering at a food bank is a popular method of charity by those who wish to indulge in the giving season. If working at a food bank is something that warms your stuffing, read on.

On Thanksgiving Day, most people take part in the ritual of giving thanks just before gorging on a massive dinner centered around a hormonally enhanced bird. Unfortunately, not everyone in the land of the free can afford such a feast.

Food banks were established to address those in need of food, not only during the holidays, but also year round. The first was St. Mary’s Food Bank, founded in 1967 by John van Hengel.

Thanks to the help of St. Mary’s Basilica (a Catholic church in Phoenix, Arizona), John van Hengel founded St. Mary’s Food Bank as a way to centralize excess grocery store inventory for distribution to the less fortunate. St. Mary’s was a huge success, but it wouldn’t be until the 1980s before food banks began to rapidly spread.

Welfare cutbacks enforced by the Reagan administration in the early 80s ignited a demand for more food banks in North America. Food banks began to steadily appear around the world, and now over 25 countries have established food banks.

What to Expect When Volunteering at a Food Bank

Food BankWith rising food prices and donations decreasing, food banks need your help now more than ever. How can you lend a hand? Well, there are a couple of things you need to take care of before you can help the hungry.

First, you will need to find a food bank near you. There are 200 food banks in North America alone, so finding one shouldn’t be much of an issue. To help your search, check out the following link:

Find a Local Food Bank — Feeding America

Once you’ve chosen a food bank, finding work is as easy as checking their volunteer opportunities. These are the roles that you can expect when volunteering at your local food bank.

1. Picking up donations:

Do you feel the need for speed? Food banks are always looking for drivers to pick up donations from willing donors. Acquiring donations for a food bank will generally consist of going to different grocery stores, churches, and homes that have an excess amount of food, which might have been mislabeled or approaching their expiration date.

2. Delivering Outbound Donations:

The direct alternative to picking up donations is delivering them to home bound individuals. These clients are typically the sick or elderly who do not have the means of going to a food bank on their own.

3. Unloading Donations:

When donations arrive at the food bank, they need active men and women to unload provision shipments. Volunteering in this way will ensure that donations are unloaded in a timely manner for distribution throughout the food bank.

4. Sorting and Organization:

Do you consider your hand-eye coordination to be greater than the average man? Food banks love having someone that can quickly sort, organize, restock, and weigh donations with supreme accuracy. This position is crucial for ensuring that donations are always stocked and in the correct order.

5. Working on the Floor:

Love human interaction? This is the job for you. Help clients find the provisions they need for the holidays and assist in bagging and checking out. This is the type of position you should take if you want to help serve clients face-to-face.

By volunteering at a food bank, you will help others enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. And as we all know, there’s no greater feeling than the ensuing nap that comes with a satisfying filling meal.


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