My children and I volunteer once a month at our local food pantry. Let me be more specific…Lindsay, Logan, and I volunteer. I used to take Luke with us, but I quickly learned that he will do better in that environment when he is a little older! I spent most of my time calling him down, picking him up off the floor, managing disputes between he and his brother, and on and on. I have a wonderful friend who keeps him for me on those volunteer days. She has a son who is one of Luke’s best buddies, so everyone is happy!
At the Care Center, we serve families who are struggling financially by helping fill their pantries with groceries. Based on the Center’s stock, we give out canned goods, government food, cereal, drinks, bread, produce, frozen meat, eggs, butter, toiletry items, diapers, baby food and formula, rice and dried beans. We typically serve 30 families each time we work, however, that number can vary greatly from month to month. The number of people in the family determines how much of each item they get. Large families take more time and muscle to process!
There are usually two other volunteers working with our family, and we all have our assigned jobs. Lindsay typically pulls canned food from the bottom shelves, including peanut butter and jelly, crackers, and canned meat. Logan will bag the drinks and special snacks. I pull the cans from the top shelves that Lindsay cannot reach. This may include pasta, tomato sauce, soup, baked beans, corn, green beans. If a baby is included in the family, I will also pull the baby food and formula. We place all of our groceries into a grocery cart, call the number of the order, and the client takes the cart to his/her car, then returns the cart to the center.
In between client orders, we work on double bagging the plastic grocery bags, breaking down sugar from the large bags into two cup servings in plastic bags, breaking down rice and beans, bagging government food, bagging bread, or sweeping. If it’s a slow day, boredom can set in, however, if it’s a busy day, it’s noon before we know it! Those are the days we like!
Working at the Care Center allows my children personal contact with those who are less fortunate. It makes all of us more thankful for what we do have, and I am hoping my children will learn to be less selfish and more giving, less materialistic and more content. The way of volunteering is very gratifying, and I am thankful each month for the opportunity to serve alongside my children.