“Giving Time” focuses on the invaluable volunteers who donate more than 314,000 hours to Second Harvest each year, more than doubling the size of our staff.
Special Blog Post By: Chao-Li, Volunteer Site Coordinator
My name is Chaol-Li Tarng. I immigrated to the United States from Taiwan 30 years ago. I got my PhD at the University of Washington in electrical and computer engineering I’m a Cisco retiree, and currently teach at San Jose State University. I teach network security. I teach my students to utilize the security systems we have in place, because many people do not or are sloppy about it. I teach that if you take a job in network security, to defend from hacking, you’ve got to think like a hacker. I have a desire to know about processes, how things work. This ties directly into how I found myself volunteering as a site coordinator for Second Harvest for the last decade.
I was looking for an opportunity to do some volunteer work. Before I did the food distribution I did sorting in the warehouse. Many times I found myself wondering, “who gets the food?” Thinking about the way the food is distributed, because we were asked to sort in a certain fashion and because I’m an engineer, I wanted to really know the whole flow of getting food, from sorting to managing to delivering the food to the client.
I began the site coordinating at my current location in 2008. I feel excited every day of a distribution I think it’s a challenge. I love a challenge. When I get there the first thing I think of is, are we going to get enough volunteers today? Are we going to kill ourselves again? I do this once a month, and afterward I feel great. Physically I’m tired, but that’s great, too.
So, on the day of a distribution, I organize the volunteers. I really enjoy the people and the relationships I have with them. Everyone has their own story and I like to hear them. I enjoy listening to all of their stories.
It’s very rewarding at the end of the day. It’s really, really rewarding. I get this opportunity to do a workout. It’s really good exercise. If I do it, whenever, morning or afternoon, afterward, my whole day is done. I have to sit for the whole day, because I’m so physically tired. But, mentally, I’m so fulfilled. To see the people get food and smile is really my best reward.
***Want to volunteer at Second Harvest? Click here to find out how.