volunteering at the food bank

This was a week ago, and some of you may have seen a couple of these on instagram, but here they are again, in the proper format and color-corrected to my liking (mostly). So, the company I work at does volunteering as part of an effort to give back to the community; we’re part of the Pledge 1% member companies; and we’re trying to do that with time.

In two hours, we moved about 12.5 tons of carrots out of those big bins (called macrobins) and into boxes for distribution to individual centers that provide food to those in need. We also moved about 3 tons of pears from macrobins to boxes, for the same reason. The food distribution is run like a farmers’ market, so people can pick and choose what they want to eat. They do it that way so people can have at least some agency in their choices. It’s amazing what giving people a little agency can do for how they feel.

The warehouse we were in serves about 40 (38 is the number I remember, but could be more or less) of smaller nutrition-based aid services in the San Francisco and Marin county areas. They move 48 million pounds of food, about 24,000 tons. Volunteers like us contribute 150,000 hours of labor per year, or the equivalent of 70 full time workers; the money they would spend on those workers goes to buying more food. This place is more like a regional warehouse for a grocery store chain than anything else. According to the warehouse manager (our supervisor, anyway), we helped feed 30,000 families.

Now, you might be thinking, ‘That’s a lot of people that need food!’ and you’re not wrong. 1 in 4 people in the Bay Area need some kind of assistance; which is wild and crazy and I can’t believe nobody is shouting it from the rooftops. How are we not moved by that? Twenty five fucking percent. For my friends not in the bay area, you’re probably not getting off any easier. Oklahoma, where I grew up, is about 18%, or one in five. Look up your local food bank, they’ll surely have stats for your area, and send ‘em some love in the form of hard currency or time. I give a few dollars here and there to charity, but going and doing work for a while feels a lot better. Also, start hassling your congresscritter about universal basic income (and if you’ve got someone on the phone, tell ‘em you’d also like to see single payer healthcare).

Posted by Matt on 2018-09-05 23:55:35 -0700