By Judy Grant, lead volunteer 

Six years ago, I joined my church service group for a volunteer shift at the Food Bank after putting it off for a few months.

1,646 volunteer hours later, I’m still here.

At the time, the Food Bank was asking for a core group of reliable, regular volunteers to help in the Community Engagement Center. I figured since I was retired, it would be a good and meaningful way for me to spend my time. It took me a while, however, to understand how deeply volunteers are needed to ensure food gets out to the community. Without volunteers, the Food Bank would be able to receive food, but not get it out the doors and onto people’s tables. It simply couldn’t happen.

“Not a day goes by where I don’t see the meaning in volunteering, and what a critical service we are providing.”

Now, as a Lead Volunteer, I help keep the volunteer floor running on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Along with another Lead Volunteer, we help Food Bank staff keep the food flowing, show people how to sort and package produce, and answer lots of questions — sometimes all at the same time. We are very good at multi-tasking!

I’ve gotten to know the Food Bank staff really well, and they’re deeply appreciative of our time. The work is fun, and a lovely way to spend the morning. But not a day goes by where I don’t see the meaning in it, and what a critical service we are providing.

I once heard someone say that we should spend some time making life easier for others. For me, this is a way to directly impact the thousands of people in our community who need food-assistance. It’s easy to see the direct impact, whether I’m packing a box of groceries for a family or filling a bag of fresh food for a child to take home from school. To me, it’s fulfilling, it’s meaningful — and it’s important.

Right now, the Food Bank is distributing more fresh fruits and vegetables than ever, and we need more helping hands.

When someone asks me if they should volunteer, I say: It’s easy to place apples and oranges into a bag. But it goes a long way, and makes a bigger impact than you realize.