Get involved and make a difference

Originally posted on the Vacaville Reporter:

“But what can I do?”

When the world’s problems seem to be overwhelming, that’s the first question many of us ask ourselves. The answer is GET INVOLVED. There are countless worthwhile organizations that are looking for people who are willing to help others in need. The Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano is no exception.

Along with our financial donors, the Food Bank relies heavily on volunteers. In fact, committed people gave over 96,000 hours of their precious time to help ensure hungry people in our community had access to food last year. That’s the equivalent of 46 full-time employees! We would not be able to distribute the more than 20 million pounds of food a year and have 96 cents for every dollar go directly towards food programs if it weren’t for these coveted everyday heroes.

If you haven’t volunteered before and you are wondering what you’ll get out of it, all you need to do is do an Internet search on “benefits of volunteering.” You’ll learn that you’ll actually end up getting more than you give. Improving your mental and physical health, developing new skills, and creating new friendships are just some of the documented perks that come with philanthropic efforts.

Laura, a mother of four, started out as a Food Bank financial donor and then decided to deepen her involvement by coming in to volunteer. When asked why she volunteers, she replied with, “It’s quite simple, everyone needs to eat. I have volunteered at the produce distributions and have seen where my money goes. When you see all those people lined up for fresh fruits and veggies, you can see how many people need help with food.”

Rose initially got involved at the Food Bank by frequently volunteering in the warehouse while she was working full-time in the corporate world of banking. After recently retiring, she started providing much-needed assistance in the office. Rose explained, “I volunteer at the Food Bank because of the high energy and team spirit towards ending hunger, which is important to me. I now have knowledge about the far-reaching impact of the Food Bank; it’s like a big safety net to the community.”

We are thrilled that recently Diablo Magazine recently honored two of our beloved long-term volunteers. Married for 67 years, Fran and Vic, ages 90 and 94 respectively, have been helping out at the Food Bank for 15 years. They are passionate about the Food Bank’s Food for Children program. Fran shared, “We are excited to get up on a Friday morning and drive to Concord to fill boxes for children and see all of our friends. Vic added, “It’s so rewarding to be so involved in something that’s good.”

These volunteers all have something in common. One day they all decided to try something new. They opened themselves to a new experience that would help make our community a better place. We encourage you to do the same.

There are many ways for both adults and children to get involved at the Food Bank. Giving as little as two hours of your time can help change the world.

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