Afternoon! My volunteering stint at Second Harvest was rewarding and very eye-opening.
I arrived at Second Harvest and was greeted warmly by the two volunteer coordinators. Myself and two other new volunteers toured the facilities and learned about Second Harvest’s mission.
Did you know that the average family of four who seeks food assistance from Second Harvest is living off of $19,000 a year? That’s hard for me to imagine.
We watched an introductory video and learned that one of the challenges faced by Second Harvest was providing people with nutritious foods, especially protein. Part of the issue is that the food must be non-perishable. As a result, a LOT of the donated foods are simple carbs or extremely processed.
The first thing I did as a volunteer was work with a group of 6th graders who were on a "community service field trip." Normally, kids scare me, but I can handle 12 year olds! My Twilight addiction paid off as I had a lot to discuss with the young girls.
I helped the kids sort through dozens of boxes of food donated by local stores and supermarkets. We had to check to make sure the food wasn’t damaged or expired.
I noticed that a LOT of the supermarket-donated food was unhealthy junk food. I hope this is just a fluke and the stores donate healthier foods, too! (I’m sure they do).
Using the abundance of junk food as an example, I talked to the kids about types of healthy food they could ask their parents to donate. They had some really good ideas, too! Suggestions included: canned beans, vegetables, and fruit; canned meats like chicken and tuna; and bags of rice.
After the kids left, I helped about a dozen other volunteers sort through individual-donated boxes. These items seemed to be much healthier overall. We sorted the donated items into jars, canned goods, and dry goods.
All in all, Second Harvest was a great experience. It felt good to be a volunteer again. However, I was saddened by the lack of healthy food AND the lack of food in general. Central Florida’s Second Harvest is currently experiencing one of their lowest food supplies EVER. The coordinators said it’s due to the economic crisis.
I urge you to donate to your local food bank. Every little bit helps! Food banks especially need items such as:
- Canned protein (beans, chicken, tuna)
- Canned vegetables or fruits
- Brown rice , oatmeal, and other complex carbs
- Baby food
I came home and felt VERY BLESSED to be able to prepare a nutritious and delicious meal.
I made a Flat Out Spinach Wrap with a veggie burger, cheddar cheese, and Romaine.
And a side of melon and carrots:
Off to do chores and RUN a 4.0 miler! Have a great afternoon.
What kind of community service do you find most rewarding?