Volunteered At A Food Bank

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"One of the greatest feelings in the world is knowing that we as individuals can make a difference. Ending hunger in America is a goal that is literally within our grasp."
--
Jeff Bridges

I signed up to volunteer at the
San Francisco Food Bank a while ago and purposely planned to use this Saturday to do it because it was my birthday weekend. I have been blessed by so many things in my life, and when circumstances were not awesome for me, people who were more fortunate helped me out. Now, it's my turn to do the same.

The food bank collects donations from food growers and manufacturers. Their trucks haul it in from several different sources, and take it to their warehouse.
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After the trucks bring the food to the warehouse, the food then needs to be sorted, repacked, and shelved. This is where volunteers come into play. At any given time, the warehouse has around 2 million pounds of food. Every week, volunteers come and do work that amounts to the equivalent of 50 full time employees.

There were two tasks that we were asked if we wanted to do. The first was sorting and packing tomatoes. They only needed seven people for this, so I decided to do the other task, which was to bag and pack brown rice.

A group of about 40 volunteers piled into a room, put on hairnets and gloves, and split up into tables of six people. Two people poured a large scoop into plastic bags. Two people weighed and added or removed rice to make the bags come out to one pound. One person sealed the bags using a bag sealer, and finally, the last person put a sticker on the bag and placed it into a cardboard box. Fifteen pounds of rice go into each box.
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For the first half of my time at the food bank, I was the sealer like this lady.
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After a short break, we got back to work, and I was scooping rice out of a tub like this into the bags.
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The time went by fast, and it was nice to just focus on the task at hand. By the end of our day there, our group had bagged and packed over 3700 pounds of rice that would soon be in the hands of soup kitchens, senior centers, homeless shelters, neighborhood pantries and youth programs. Not too shabby for a few short hours of our time on a Saturday afternoon!

I'm really glad I did this, and it's definitely something I'll get back to from time to time. They have time slots for this during all different times every day, and it's so easy to
see what times are available and sign up. If you've never done it, I'd totally recommend it.

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