The Second Harvest Food Bank encourages people to get involved in the organization and to volunteer as staff prepare for major food drives in the months ahead.
Second Harvest volunteer coordinator Andrew Foster explained that only a handful of people work full-time at Second Harvest, so they rely heavily on help from the volunteer department.
Second Harvest volunteers often come from groups like churches and Youth Alliance, a community group of middle and high school students.
Kieran Burkey, the youth volunteer coordinator for the Youth Alliance, said their volunteers help Second Harvest in a variety of ways.
“Sometimes we sort different vegetables into smaller bags so it’s easier to distribute them to other families,” Burkey said. “He (Foster) also asked us to prepare small bags for the children to take home after school…”
Youth Alliance also participated in the Fill the Van food drive.
“We couldn’t exist, we couldn’t do what we do without civic groups like the Youth Alliance, without churches and corporations investing a little sweat both here on our campus in St .Joe and on the multitude or our feeding sites around the area,” he said.
As a volunteer-run organization, Second Harvest relies on the help of volunteers to run its location and events.
“We’re always looking for volunteer crews to serve here at our warehouse (in St. Joseph), and we have a slew of needs coming in the spring and summer,” Foster said.
In the spring, Second Harvest will host the Fill the Van Food Drive, an event where people donate non-perishable items at local grocery stores to support students and families.
“We always need volunteers to help out with our Fill the Van food drives,” he said. “And then when summer comes, it’s all on deck.”
Second Harvest is also looking forward to its summer No Hunger campaign, where packed lunches are provided for children thanks to the “Herculean efforts” of hundreds of volunteers.
“So it’s not too early to start thinking — if you’re a church group, a civic group or a business, to sign up to serve with No Hunger Summer,” Foster said.