It was early on a chilly Tuesday morning when I visited Trinity Church of Sunnyvale. The sun wasn’t even up yet but there were people hard at work unpacking food that was just delivered from a Second Harvest Food Bank truck. This morning’s bounty included rice, bread, eggs, and lots of fresh produce including zucchini, carrots, celery, pears, apples and oranges. The volunteers set up tables and then organized the food so that heavier, sturdier items were first and the fragile, more easily crushed items were at the end of the line.
The sun finally started to show up and so did the clients. Our Brown Bag program provides nutritious groceries twice a month to older adults (ages 60+) and disabled individuals (ages 55+). This particular site served approximately 200 people at each distribution. The volunteers were ready and they helped load up the groceries as people came through the line. Davide, a volunteer who helps out before heading to work said, “I realize it’s not always about somebody giving them the food, it’s somebody smiling at them. Some people, the majority, are very appreciative and grateful for what you do.”
It was a nice surprise to see Ardys, one of our long time volunteers and clients who has shared her story with us before. She encourages more people to volunteer their time: “I’m 80 years old and I think that it doesn’t matter what your age is as long as you’ve got some health and you’ve got a little bit of time because we’re only here for an hour and a half to two hours at the most and we need the help. We don’t have as many volunteers as we’d like and we’re always pushing for more. The volunteers are really important to help move things along.”
Volunteering at a Brown Bag site is a regular commitment where you not only develop relationships with the clients you see twice a month, but also with your fellow volunteers. Davide described his experience working with the other volunteers: “When I arrive, I say hi to everybody and then everyone says, ‘Hi, Davide, finally you’re here.’ Usually we have potatoes and onions and they cannot move them because they’re really heavy for some of the older volunteers. When they see me, they know I can move them.”
Before I knew it the distribution was over; 200 seniors had received food and I got to help out alongside a great group of volunteers. It was a great way to start my day! Being a Brown Bag site distribution volunteer is a regular commitment but one you will not regret.
Click here to learn more about some our food distribution volunteer opportunities in your neighborhood.