Guest post by Jenay Ross, USC journalism student: Lazy, rude and immature are words describing a stereotype that has been placed upon today’s younger generation. Of course those words don’t apply to the entire population of young adults.
Many of the kids breaking that stereotype can be found at the Food Bank on various days throughout the week. While some stop in to volunteer every couple of months, some go in to help two or more days a week.
This past summer, in addition to writing articles for this blog, I have been one of those kids seen sorting and boxing food, putting bread on trays or even sweeping up the floor a few times a week. It’s been great to see other people around my age doing the same to give back to their community.
15 year-old Jacob Reynolds, a junior at Clayton Valley High and varsity swimmer, finds time during his school breaks and swim practices to volunteer. “I started volunteering over Thanksgiving break,” he said, “I’ve actually done everything, but stacking.” He finds working at the Food Bank fun and exciting. He said he likes to volunteer because of the people he comes across and the “fact that we’re helping.” Jacob would like to get more of his friends to volunteer at the Food Bank because he thinks they would enjoy it.
The positivity at the Food Bank is one of the attributes that grabs the attention of people. Jeff Schroeder, a 22 year-old
junior at San Francisco State, said “It’s a positive atmosphere.” Since he wasn’t able to find a job this summer, he decided it would be a great idea to volunteer to stay busy.
The Food Bank was his first choice when deciding where to volunteer. When he’s not sorting or boxing food a couple times a week, he’s skateboarding and drumming for his
band Gavilan, who have recently recorded new music.
While most volunteers can be found in the sorting room or on various sites for food distributions, some are found behind a desk in the office. Amelia Spencer has been volunteering since January 2008. “I usually work in the front office with Barbara, answering the phones and helping out in the office with anything,” the 23 year-old said. In the fall and winter, she goes into the Concord office on Mondays and Fridays. In the summer, she helps out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, she goes with Julie Redmond to her food distribution.
She currently attends Loma Vista, an adult-ed program, but Amelia was unsure of what she wanted to do after high
school, so she thought going to the Food Bank would be a great experience that would give her a good sense of work ethic. She finds it rewarding to be involved with the Food Bank because she knows that she’s helping individuals or families. “You kind of think about that after awhile when you get to sit down and have dinner,” she said, “Not everybody gets to do that.”
The Food Bank has continued to be an inviting place for young adults to go and contribute their time. Whether they’re there on their own or for mandatory community service, the help is always appreciated.