Originally posted in the Vacaville Reporter: The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is facing a critical shortage of volunteers at our Fairfield warehouse. Though our Concord warehouse has an abundance of individuals, families and corporate groups willing to donate their time, it’s an ongoing challenge to meet the demands in our warehouse on the other side of the Benicia Bridge. In fact, in the past three months, only 25 percent of the available shifts in Fairfield were filled to capacity.
The need is great because most of our produce preparation occurs in our Fairfield facility. We take pride in that over half of the food we distribute consists of fresh produce. In order to get the fruit and vegetables out to our community members in need (from children to seniors), it needs to be sorted and bagged first.
If you’ve never helped out in our sorting room, you might be wondering what’s involved. It’s quite simple and all shifts only require a two or three hour time commitment. The Food Bank receives produce in vast cardboard bins. Volunteers move the produce from the large bins to smaller, more manageable, containers such as bags and boxes that are light enough to carry. During the process, produce is inspected and any produce that isn’t edible is removed.
Because we have over 90,000 hours of volunteer time gifted to us each year between the two warehouses, we have a computerized volunteer management system. It’s easy to look up available opportunities in Fairfield and register to be a volunteer by going to our website at www.foodbankccs.org/volunteer.
We make it convenient to volunteer by offering day shifts Monday through Saturday and shifts in the early evening on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
If you have children, we encourage you to introduce them to the rewarding experience of helping others. Children as young as 11 years old can volunteer when accompanied by an adult. The Food Bank is conveniently located near the Jelly Belly factory, so you can turn the day into a fun summer excursion.
If you have younger children, we encourage you to sign up for the next Family Food Sort on Saturday, July 16, from 9:00 to 11 a.m. At the monthly Family Food Sort event, the minimum age requirement for volunteering is lowered to 5 years old when accompanied by an adult.
Volunteering is a rewarding experience for people of all ages. We feel better about ourselves and our community when we are giving to something bigger. Encourage your friends and organizations to join you. The relationships we build when we work together with people from service clubs or faith communities makes us all feel part of a significant change.
It would not be possible for the Food Bank to provide food to people in need if we did not have dedicated supporters willing to offer hands-on help. Although sorting produce is definitely our greatest need right now, you can look at our website for other ways that you can assist. We urge you to join us in making our community better by signing up to be a volunteer today.