With thoughts of turkey, family, and holidays in mind, FrontStreamers from the Washington DC office made their way to the Capital Area Food Bank (CAFB) for a day of volunteering last week. Serving over 700,000 people struggling with hunger in the Washington Metro area, CAFB serves as a hub for food sourcing, food distribution and nutrition education. Impressively, the Food Bank distributes 42 million pounds of food annually, roughly 35 million meals, to those in need.
After getting lost in the many side streets characterizing our nation’s capital, I finally joined my team at our destination. Our entrance into the building was met with joyful “hellos” and we were instructed to wait a few minutes until our team could begin our volunteer work. We excitedly chatted in the waiting area but this quickly dissolved as our team was finally called to begin our task. Making our way to the building’s back room, we were instantly in awe of the high shelves crowded with neatly organized and labeled boxes of food.
Sourced from community food drives, personal contributions and mass donations from grocery stores, the Food Bank relies on volunteers and a small staff to organize food and manage a variety of tasks. No easy feat considering the sheer size of the 123,000 square foot distribution center!
We started the day by preparing “weekend bags” for local community centers, schools, and churches that distribute these bags to children eligible for free or reduced-priced school lunches. We were told that these bags act as a supplement to the meals these children have on the weekends, and should not be the only food they have access to.
Our next assignment required us to fill boxes to the brim with baking goods, side dishes, drinks, and pasta/rice. With ease, our task coordinators assigned jobs to each of us, creating a seamless and well-oiled machine of volunteers. Once each of us held the proud title of either box maker, box stuffer, or box sealer, we quickly worked through the handful of large food crates to finish the assignment.“I always enjoy volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank. It’s amazing to play a small part in a massive and organized operation that helps thousands of families in our area.” says William Ross, a FrontStream employee. “It’s fascinating to see how much really goes into getting food to the doorstep of those in need and more than rewarding to participate in the process.”
With more than 50 million Americans suffering from hunger and food insecurity, organizations like the Capital Area Food Bank make a world of difference. Bringing meals to suffering families and assistance to hungry children, the CAFB works to “feed those who suffer from hunger in the Washington metro area by acquiring food and distributing it through its network of partner agencies; and educating, empowering, and enlightening the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition.”
You can get involved and help end hunger in the nation’s capital by donating food, funds, or time to the Capital Area Food Bank. As the organization’s motto goes, “together we can solve hunger.”
Show your support: http://www.capitalareafoodbank.org/