Teenagers have many rites of passage, like driving a car, buying a lottery ticket, and our personal favorite, being able to volunteer. You probably know that 14 has been Second Harvest Food Bank’s minimum volunteer age for years due to safety concerns. However, with the opening of Cypress Center and its protected food sorting rooms, we are excited to offer a few family food sorts this summer to welcome hunger fighters as young as 10.
Family food sorts are no ordinary food sorts. Knowing how much students must miss the structured education of the school year, we also add an educational component. Before diving into our produce bins, parents and children do a fun shopping and budgeting activity. Each person is charged with buying nutritious groceries for their family on a small budget. While navigating the Food Bank’s faux “grocery store” everyone quickly learns how difficult a task that is. Of course, that’s where Second Harvest Food Bank comes in.
After coming to understand some of the challenges that face our 250,000 clients, families get to take action. Cypress Center is the Food Bank’s new produce hub and millions of pounds of these fruits and vegetables flow in and out each year, much of which requires volunteer sorting to remove overly-ripe pieces and transform huge bins into family-friendly bags.
This Wednesday evening 25 family volunteers boxed 5,625 pounds of plums! In fact, one 11-year-old volunteer had our heads spinning with his speed. He packed 200 boxes by himself and loaded the pallets perfectly!
One hard-working mother, Belinda, shared some of her thoughts with us at the end of the evening, “The exercise before sorting was a real eye-opener for my son. He never had to look at prices when we go grocery shopping and realized that not everyone is so fortunate.” Belinda continued to say, “We both had a great bonding experience and my son was so proud that he immediately posted to Facebook what he had done.”
Well, we’re very proud of the group and all our young volunteers. Every supporter makes a difference and we’re convinced that youth are instrumental in ending hunger and poverty.
If you and your family would like to join an upcoming family sort, please review upcoming dates and sign-up information on our Family Food Sort page.