This is just a quick note that September is Hunger Action Month and although we’re already about halfway through the month, there’s still time to get out there and do something. I suggest checking out FeedingAmerica.org to find a local food bank or doing a google search for opportunities near you to volunteer some of your time.
My experience with food banks has been with the Beaverton location of the Oregon Food Bank. This location receives donations from around the state, sorts donations, repacks bulk food into family-sized portions, labels canned food donations, then sends the donations to partner agencies across Oregon and parts of SW Washington where the food is then distributed to families.
The staff is super friendly, and the other volunteers are interesting people to talk to. Often times work groups come with highly motivated (competitive) attitudes to pack more food than other groups, which brings a lot of energy to the shifts. There are a few different types of volunteer shifts you can sign up for and shifts are about 2-3 hours long. If you’re located in Oregon and would like to volunteer at one of the OFB’s locations, check out how to here, www.oregonfoodbank.org/get-involved/volunteer/.
The shift I enjoy most is the perishable repack shift, which involves bagging and boxing lots of different donations such as frozen green beans, fresh potatoes, frozen carrots, frozen corn on the cob, flour, and frozen snap peas. They also have “Fresh Alliance” shifts, which involve sorting through refrigerated donations that, I believe, were donated by grocery stores. Volunteers check expiration dates, and inspect for quality, freshness, and package condition.
The Beaverton food bank also holds shifts at the Westside Learning Garden where volunteers help maintain the garden and harvest produce that gets distributed to local organizations as well.
Take a moment this weekend to find a local food bank and sign up for a shift this month. If your employer offers VTO, utilize some of that time, or donate food or make a monetary donation – take action this month!