Last night was the monthly meet up for the Ohio Blogging Association. We took a couple hours out of our busy schedules and volunteered at the Cleveland Food Bank.
Once we arrived, we watched a short video and Alan showed us a bit of the warehouse. Since I used to run a packing and assembly warehouse, it was fascinating to see the facility.
There were several groups volunteering last evening. Our OBA group worked on the BackPack for Kids Program. This program is a discreet way to send children home with a back pack full of food for 6 meals. The issue is that many children in need only eat at school. When Friday comes, they don’t have food for the weekend. The kids get a backpack and a can opener at the beginning of the year and each week they bring back their empty backpack and it gets refilled. The webpage mentioned an average of 2,300 kids served a week, but I am pretty sure 3,700 is a more current number. The thought of that many kids needing food for the weekend makes me sad.
George, who works for the food bank, got us started. I volunteered to help keep the assembly line stocked. I was in charge of Vienna sausage, pasta O’s, and corn. Since each bag got two cans of pasta and corn, I was super busy. I was also supposed to break down the cardboard and keep the area clean. In actuality, I summoned help as needed for that part. Within minutes, I was definitely sweating and getting a good workout.
The bags contained other things including milk, cereal, applesauce, etc. The bags were nutritionally balanced and included items that most kids would eat. In addition to the line, we had people working on boxes and filling the skid. By the end of our time, we had filled over 500 bags.
I posed with the new skid of corn. We ran out for just a minute while the staff replenished our line with a new skid.
We had 11 bloggers in total participate.
In addition to myself, we had:
It was nice to see some familiar faces and also meet some new bloggers. At the end of our volunteering time, we took a few minutes to introduce our blogs and make announcements.
While I was gone, Nick was asking Stephen where I was. He explained to Nick that I was working at the food bank. He further explained that a food bank organizes food so it can be given out to people who need it. Nick made the connection to the Lenten Pretzels at church. Each year, the kids make pretzels and sell them to congregation members. The proceeds are used for a variety of projects to help other kids in need. Nick made the connection that the pretzel money helped kids that need food, too. It was super nice to hear that he was able to make the connection.
I was taking my lifeguarding class, but Stephen was able to snap a few photos.
Here’s a tray of finished pretzels and a couple of Nick applying the cinnamon sugar.
The food bank utilizes over 11,000 unique volunteers a year. Kids 6 and older can volunteer on special family nights. I’ll be keeping that in mind for when Nick and Sally are a little older. It’s easy to take things we have for granted. Volunteering last night really made me appreciate things a bit more today.