Guest post by ambassador Cecelia Williams: As a Food Bank Ambassador, I distributed information for the new Community Produce Program being offered at Antioch High School. During the high school registration days we reached out to people to publicize free healthy fruits and vegetables on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. This program is particularly attractive because of the simplicity of qualification. There are no applications or forms to fill out, and no documentation of any sort needed. It is run on the honor system and an income chart. Only two questions are asked: 1) How many people are in your household? and 2) Is your income below this level? If the person qualifies, he/she signs her name and proceeds down the line to fill his/her bags with fresh healthy fruits and vegetables. This program is definitely people friendly.
Saturday, August 11 was a great day. It was the first distribution day at Antioch High School and I had the opportunity to help out. It was nice meeting Cassie, Will, Matt, and Corinne. The site is right across from the high school. I enjoyed “meeting and greeting” everyone as they came to pick up food. I tried to make it a happy day and a welcome experience for the people that came out on this hot morning. There were several familiar faces from the Antioch High School registration day, and I gave them an extra big hello and glad to see them.
An informational white board with pictures of food available that day, as well as the upcoming dates was displayed to people while they waited in line to sign in. I thought it was a nice touch that the item was named in both Spanish and English on the picture, as many of the people were Spanish speaking.
I had met a high school staff volunteer that week named Irma. She was interested in disseminating information and in volunteering. It was a wonderful surprise to see that Irma came to help that Saturday morning.
I helped people fill their bags in order to keep the line moving. I also invited people to help themselves to a little more because we were told there was plenty of fresh produce for everyone. Not having worked the program before, I was a bit worried about running out of food, which absolutely did not happen. Everyone went home with bags full. What a great feeling.
One lady said to me (in Spanish), “Thank you for helping us.” I responded, “Each of us needs a little help now and then.”
My goal as an ambassador or in any of my volunteer work is to make a small, but positive difference for at least one person. This world is made up of many people…one person at a time. I am just one individual, so improving the world is a daunting thought, but helping one person, and then another, and then another….that I CAN do.
The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano staff really had the site organized and ready to go. The ease with which the program flowed was awesome. It was a good day and it was certainly my pleasure to help.
To learn about volunteer opportunities with the Food Bank’s Community Produce Program, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Sharon at (925) 676-7543 extension 209.