Ever since Bridgette was 3, Alan has been on the lookout for volunteer opportunities that we could do as a family. Unfortunately, none of the organizations that he diligently looked into would allow young children to volunteer. Finally, this year, Bridgette is able to meet the age requirement of a few nonprofits, and San Francisco Food Bank is one of them!
Last Sunday, we headed up to San Francisco bright and early to arrive by 9am at S.F. Food Bank. We had signed up through Alan’s company, Appirio, with a few of Alan’s colleagues. I took the time to explain a bit about S.F. Food Bank’s goals and missions to Bridgette beforehand, which helped her to understand how our time and efforts in volunteering help those in need.
Upon entry to the building, we had to first sign in, and then wait in the break room for all other volunteers to arrive. There must have been about 60-80 volunteers all together that morning.
After everyone was gathered in the break room, a few of S.F. Food Bank’s employees came in to give us a brief intro and safety tips before leading us to the area where we’d be working.
We divided into 3 different groups. One group was taken to a whole separate area and we had no idea what they did, but the other two remaining groups were divided between oranges and tomatoes. We went with the oranges.
Our main job that day, was to box up oranges, and to dispose of the rotten ones. Simple enough. We went right to work and remained quite focused for the next 2 hours.
When we were finished with all the oranges, we stayed behind to help with the tomatoes as well, and both Alan and I were so proud of Bridgette’s willingness to get down and dirty to sort, pack, and even lift!
In the end, we were told that we helped sort through nearly 9,000 lbs of tomatoes, and even more oranges! The individually boxed produce/fruits would then be transported to neighborhood pantries, serving an average of 30,000 households each week and providing people with healthy foods they can prepare at home. The work of the food bank’s 25,000 volunteers last year was equivalent to 70 full-time staff!!
By dedicating just 2 hours of our Sunday morning, we were able to help others who are less fortunate. It was definitely a great feeling, and we hope this is just the first of many volunteer opportunities that we will be doing as a family going forward. As we were sorting through the tomatoes and oranges, we took note of how they were perfectly edible and in good condition to be consumed, but because they didn’t “look” perfect, they were tossed from the grocery stores because most people wouldn’t buy them. But, these disposed produce and fruits would be considered a gem to many families. So, the next time you are about to toss food out that has just a small bruise or two, you may want to reconsider.