Food Bank Calls on Community for Volunteers in New Year
MEDIA CONTACT: Blain Johnson
(415) 282-1907 x270 (office), (512) 487-2583 (cell)
The SF-Marin Food Bank is calling on the community to fill 2,800 volunteer openings during January and February.
“We want to remind people that volunteering is a great New Year’s resolution and it’s a fun way to give back with coworkers or friends and family,” says Volunteer Services Manager Sean Rosas. “Our shifts were booked solid during the holiday months and we greatly appreciate that support. Heading into January, the Food Bank isn’t as top of mind for people as it was during November and December. We have lots of empty shifts on our calendar.”
Real fun with a real impact
Volunteer projects include repacking bulk grains into family-size portions and sorting produce fresh from farms in California.
“Everyone has a great time,” Rosas says. “We play upbeat music and families make it a game to see who can scoop a one-pound bag of rice on the first try.
“At the end of the shift, the project leaders weigh the rice or fruit that the volunteers have repacked or sorted and let them know the exact poundage and how many people their work will feed. It’s worthwhile work and it’s quantifiable. At the end of the day, you know exactly how many meals you’ve helped generate.”
Same-day training, one-time commitment
Unlike many volunteer opportunities that require ongoing commitments and advance training, volunteers at the Food Bank are trained day of and can complete a volunteer commitment in a single shift (though ongoing commitments are welcome).
During weekdays, children as young as 11 can volunteer; the age limit is 8 years old on Saturdays and children as young as 4 can volunteers on Sundays.
Volunteers needed Monday through Friday
Volunteer shifts at the Food Bank are available seven days a week, but the greatest need for volunteers is for shifts Monday through Friday. School groups and companies like Wells Fargo, Blackrock, PG&E and Salesforce make it a habit to volunteer regularly, using the volunteer shift as an opportunity for team- building and giving back together.
Jamie Olsen, employee engagement program manager for Salesforce, says volunteering at the Food Bank ranks as one of their top corporate volunteer experiences.
“The online sign-up system makes it easy to schedule something that works for your team, they can accommodate group sizes small and large, and most importantly, everyone leaves knowing they made a tremendous impact,” Olsen says. “We are grateful for our longstanding relationship with the Food Bank and are thankful for all the hard work they do for the communities we live and work in.”
Volunteer force the equivalent of 68 full-time employees
“At many organizations, volunteers are helpful, but at the Food Bank, we literally could not do what we do without the support of our community volunteers,” Rosas says.
“Our volunteers force donates the time equivalent of 68 full-time employees. They allow us to scale our operations and make them more efficient because volunteers can sort bulk quantities of food into family-size portions that we distribute at our pantries.”
About the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks
The Food Bank plays a central role in the food assistance network in San Francisco and Marin, where one in four residents is at risk of hunger. Families, seniors and individuals find critical support in the food the Food Bank delivers to its 450 partnering organizations, including 240 weekly grocery pantries. Each week, the Food Bank’s programs serve more than 147,000 people.
The pantry network is the cornerstone of the Food Bank’s distribution system. Set up farmer’s market-style, volunteers help households select groceries that can be used to create home-cooked meals. Nearly 60 percent of what is distributed is fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Food Bank will distribute more than 46 million pounds of food to the community this year alone – enough for more than 105,000 meals every day.