This semester, our FYLC(First Year Learning Community) is required to participate in 10 community service hours that meet the schools requirement for service as well as relating to food in some way. The most popular options have been serving in a community garden, at the food bank, or at a food pantry. A couple months ago I got the chance to volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank in NE Portland. I had a lot of fun and felt very accomplished when I was done. Before volunteering at the food bank, I was unaware how much they do for people in need and I can imagine many of you are as well.
In just two short hours of volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank, I helped to provide over 400 meals to people in need. I along with a couple dozen others, repackaged and labeled thousands of 2 pound bags of beans. Just seeing the number of people I helped in such a small time made me feel really great. While the work I did was really repetitive, it was easy and I can’t wait to go back and volunteer if it means I will be helping to provide healthy food options for families in need.
Repackaging food into smaller portions isn’t all the food bank does to help people in need. Some people organize all the food that is donated in the large warehouse which makes it much easier to package and deliver. Others take all the food from the food bank and deliver to local food pantry’s and other small hunger-relief agencies. These agencies then take the food and directly deliver it to families in need. In 2014, the Oregon Food Bank provided these agencies with 44.2 million pounds of food.
The Oregon Food Bank however, cannot do all this work on their own. They rely on the help of people in the community. By volunteering for a couple hours, you are helping to provide numerous individuals and families who are experiencing hunger. Don’t feel bad if you have no time to volunteer. You can always help, by donating money online at http://secure.oregonfoodbank.org/donate or by donating a couple of nonperishable cans or boxes to the food bank.