After looking at the events listed on GoVoluntr.com, I found a great opportunity at Community Services Agency and signed up for their holiday food organizing event. CSA is committed to providing critical services for their community to help and support stability, self-reliance, and dignity. I wanted to learn more about the organization, and I figured why not do something different? I didn’t know what I was going to be doing, but I was willing to challenge myself.
I arrived and met with Katie from CSA. She was thrilled to have me there since it was going to be a big day for receiving donations, and there was also a large pick up scheduled for the afternoon. I began my day cleaning the refrigerators so the fresh produce donated would have a clean home. When we finished, we received a delivery, organized the food and put away the goods in their designated areas.
We then got a phone call from The Vita Benefits Group that their holiday canned food drive goods were ready for pickup. I headed over to pick up the cans with two other volunteers and we were able to see the creativity of the Vita employees who stacked their donations in to festive shapes like a turkey, a snowman and even a boat. What looked like hundreds of cans of corn, beans, chicken stock, tomatoes, and even boxes of cake mixes and pasta were piled high! Dismantling the canned good structures, crating and transporting them back to CSA became a great workout as well. We unloaded the trucks and began to sort the donations into their designated bins. While sorting, we all were able to discuss what other tasks needed to be completed before the community was going to line up to pick up their food bags. It was about 12:30pm when we finished sorting and putting everything away I took out the trash, washed my hands and thanked Katie for a wonderful time.
For this being my first time here, I felt like it was easy to learn, and a great way to meet other people who shared the same passion in helping out their community. There were other seasoned volunteers, and all of them were so positive, patient, and willing to help me quickly learn the ropes so I could be an effective contributor immediately. I’m looking forward to volunteering there again on December 16th with my GoVoluntr team. Register for the event on GoVoluntr.com to help CSA build a stronger community.
I signed up for an afternoon shift at CSA and showed up to find Giselle finishing up her shift. I quickly checked in with her and she told me what an amazing experience it had been which got me excited to start working. On the agenda for the afternoon was handing out food and I knew we were going to be busy when I saw the line of CSA clients wrapped multiple times around the parking lot. I met some of the great people I would be working with that day, like Brian, a church pastor, and Katie, the woman in charge.
Before we could get started handing out items, we needed to get the food ready. Fresh produce was coming off the truck as we walked up—squash, tomatoes, kiwi, onions and more. We started moving the food from the large delivery bins to more easily manageable milk crates, all the while being careful to make sure that the food never went into a crate that was touching the ground.
Once we had everything ready to go, we started welcoming the clients. As each person passed by, they received a handful of each item before moving down the line. So in the bag it went: onions, pears, celery, carrots, and more. As volunteers placed the food items into the client’s bags, the support team jumped into action replenishing goods from the large stocks that we had waiting to go. As 4:00 p.m. rolled around, after the last few in line received their food items,we began to clean up, folding boxes, stacking crates and placing extras in the food storage.
The day was a complete success! It was truly a sight to see, giving so many people access to a basic necessity in life—food. It’s hard to describe how I felt knowing I was a small part of helping so many people in such a short amount of time. My advice? Get out there and volunteer, it is a heart warming experience that is like no other!
Thanks CSA for having us over and allowing us to help!
Work hard. Play harder. GoVoluntr Hardest.