May 7th, 2012 at 11:00 am
A week ago Friday eleven people from my church (FBC Waxahachie) joined other volunteers at the North Texas Food Bank to help prepare bags of nutritious food for children in the Food 4 Kids backpack program. Some businesses had allowed a few of their employees to serve that day, and they also worked in our line. The process involved grabbing a plastic bag, walking along tables filled with bins of small packaged food items chosen by a nutritionist, placing one item from each bin in the bag, and then leaving the bag at the end of the line for another volunteer to insert in a box. Then we returned to the first of the line, grabbed another bag, and began again. Walk, walk, walk. Smile, smile, smile. Peppy music was piped into the warehouse, and we were dancing along as we walked. Seven bags fill a box, and then the box is sealed and placed on a flat.
Our line filled five flats and another line filled seven flats in about two hours. Our group included mostly retired people and a couple of teenagers. We worked side by side with the other volunteers and were all in good spirits as we kept the pace going. We were tired (but not too tired) and pleased that we could make a difference. Our group commented on how well organized everything was so that we were able to do the most good with the little time we were there.
The bags of food we prepared will be sent to participating elementary schools in the thirteen counties served by the North Texas Food Bank. Volunteers at the elementary schools will move the food from the bags to backpacks located on each campus. Each backpack is designated for a particular child recognized by that school as needing nutrition over the weekend when school lunches are not available to them. Each child receives the backpack of food on Friday before leaving school. On Monday the child returns the backpack to the school where it will be filled again for the next Friday.
The bags for backpacks project was not the only service going on that day. Other volunteers at the North Texas Food Bank handled food items donated by grocery stores, discarding out-dated food and placing food in boxes by general type: juice and other drinks, canned vegetables, soups, snacks, breakfast items, etc. The sorted food would be used to fill other boxes which would be distributed to needy families so that an appropriate nutritional variety would be in each box.
The North Texas Food Bank desperately needs more volunteers to do this kind of service every Monday through Friday (morning or afternoon shift). Saturdays it is a little easier to find volunteers, but weekdays they are pleading for more volunteers to come. If church youth groups, Bible Study classes or others can find the time to volunteer, it will be a blessing to them as well as to hungry people in North Texas. Especially during the annual Full On Faith Week July 9-14, when only faith-based groups will be serving, but also ANY week during the year, consider whether your church will donate a few hours. To sign up, go to www.ntfb.org and go to the volunteer tab.
Can you believe it? You can provide 6 people with a nutritious meal for just ONE DOLLAR! Between now and August 31, you can anyway. The David M. Crowley Foundation has issued a generous $100,000 matching challenge to friends of the North Texas Food Bank. Full Story »
It’s really getting close now! You don’t want to miss this. JULY 6-13 IS THE WEEK. Faith-based groups are beginning to reserve their times to volunteer. Will your church be one of them?
The once-a-year Full On Faith Week is time set aside by the North Texas Food Bank for faith-based groups to take over all their volunteer spots—and that is a lot of volunteers! The time slots on Saturdays fill up first. It’s even better if you have a group that can come on a weekday. Shifts are 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 4 p.m. If your church is in one of the counties served by NTFB, then this is your opportunity! Sign up now if your church is in Collin, Dallas, Delta, Denton, Ellis, Fannin, Grayson, Hopkins, Hunt, Kaufman, Lamar, Navarro, or Rockwall counties. Go to www.ntfb.org and click on the volunteer tab.
Your volunteer hours can be credited to an NTFB-affiliated food pantry in your neighborhood. Just put the name of the pantry on the card when you sign in. Each hour provides $1.80 credit toward that pantry’s future purchase of food.
Just as a reminder, the requirements for volunteering are:
- Be able to lift small boxes and cans
- Be able to stand and/or walk for 2 to 2 ½ hours with occasional breaks
- Wear closed-toed shoes while on the warehouse floor
- Wear reasonably modest but comfortable and cool clothing, as the warehouse is not air-conditioned
- Be at least 16 years of age. (Volunteers ages 10-15 may volunteer if accompanied by an adult
with a ratio of 1 adult for every 5-7 children.)
Can you picture yourself here? You can do what these people are doing. They are volunteers serving at the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas. You can volunteer at any of the 19 food banks in Texas. They need you! Just contact them and sign up.
Requirements for volunteering (based on North Texas Food Bank information):
- Be able to lift small boxes and cans.
- Be able to stand and/or walk for 2 to 2 ½ hours with occasional breaks.
- Wear closed-toed shoes while on the warehouse floor.
- Wear reasonably modest but comfortable and cool clothing, as the warehouse is not air-conditioned.
- Be at least 16 years of age. (Volunteers ages 10-15 may volunteer if accompanied by an adult with a ratio of 1 adult for every 5-7 children.)
Find your Texas Food Bank here.