National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to reflect on the awe-inspiring acts of kindness by millions of individuals in this country and the magic that happens when we work together towards a common purpose. This past year has shown us how truly essential our volunteers are to our mission at the FRFB. With such a small staff, we could never accomplish all that we do in the community--feeding some 45,400 people last year. "Our work is highly dependent on volunteers," says President & CEO Dan Maher, "we are able to provide two meals for every dollar received only because we receive so much donated food and donated labor. Our volunteers are also very often passionate about our mission, so they help us be efficient, but they also keep us energetic and engaged...all while having fun as they help serve their community!"
Currently, we have over 3,400 volunteers registered in our enrollment system. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Jessica McCoy, is so grateful for each one of them, no matter if they volunteer for an hour every once in a while or come in every week. "There is no greater connection between us as a community than our ability to love, and our willingness to help. The dedication of our volunteers is an incredible and powerful thing; we could not even begin to express our appreciation for all that they do! Thank you, for always offering a hand," says Jessica.
National Volunteer Week is also an opportunity to consider donating your time. We still have our COVID protocols in place to ensure that everyone stays safe and healthy. Now that the vaccine is readily available, it is a great time to get back out into the world and be part of something really important. It is currently estimated that 1 in 12 adults and 1 in 7 children within our community will go to bed hungry tonight. The staff of the FRFB can't satisfy that demand for food resources alone. Your time will make a difference in someone's life while making our community stronger.
Who can volunteer? Almost anyone! You must be 16 to volunteer in our warehouse but there are many ways younger people can get involved. For example, they can do a food or funds drive in their neighborhood, faith community, sports team, club, or school.
How do you volunteer? Simply go to our website, click on "Get Involved" and register to volunteer on our portal. From there you can see the types of volunteer needs we have. You can volunteer as an individual, a family, as a group from your faith community, workplace, or civic group. It is a great way to team-build while making an important impact in the lives of your neighbors.
What types of volunteer opportunities are available? We have many important tasks, including working in our warehouse, helping out at distribution sites, and adopting a senior for food delivery as a way to provide some physical and emotional nourishment. If you have a special talent or skill, we could always use help in our offices. Currently, we have some pressing needs for volunteers that we would love for our community to consider.
CSFP Pack Days - Volunteers help pack in excess of 1,000 food boxes every month that go to our low-income-qualifying seniors. Additionally, we have the Senior Home Delivery opportunity where volunteers with special training deliver boxes to homebound seniors to ensure they get their monthly box!
Distribution teams including those with Intake, Traffic, and Line! - These volunteers have helped at our on-site and pop-up distributions, providing a variety of roles and aiding in an effort to provide relief to different areas of our community that need it most.
Mobile Pantry Stops - Many regular volunteers go to different locations and help Deon, our Mobile Pantry Coordinator, with handing out produce and other food items to those in need.
Warehouse Quality Assurance - This is an important part of our operation. Volunteers ensure the safety and proper categorization/packing of both food and non-food items, preparing them to go out to pantries and back into the community!
Thank you again to our dedicated volunteers. You are the hands and feet of the FRFB in our community. The compassion you show to the people we serve is an inspiration for us all. It is difficult for the people who find themselves in need of food assistance, and your actions go a long way toward helping them keep their dignity.
You're showing them that people do care, and that gives them hope. Sometimes hope is just what people need to try to change their lives. Thank you for supporting your community and your hungry neighbors.