If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that making a difference in the lives of others is something that I value highly. If it fits in my schedule (with a three year old it can be tricky) I am first in line to support causes that help others. Last weekend I was given the opportunity to participate in Walmart’s National Day of service. I visited the Capital area foodbank and with about 20 Walmart employees sorted food for the hungry.
We were only one group of several in DC and there were many more around country. Another group in DC was delivering prepared meals to people in treatment for cancer or HIV/AIDS.
Although this was the first nationwide volunteer event organized by Walmart, it is far from the only way that the organization provides for the hungry. I learned that Walmart will provide $2 Billion thru 2015 to feed the hungry in the United States. I loved hearing this statistic, especially when you consider a city like Washington, DC which has the highest child poverty rate in the nation. Walmart’s efforts are helping to feed the most vulnerable members of the population. In addition to volunteers for the day, each project in Washington, DC received $5000 from Walmart.
This was my first time working at a food bank and basically we had to sort through all of the donations to determine what was good, what was for the “hog” bin and separate everything into the appropriate bins.
It was like reverse shopping, each of us grabbed a reusable shopping bag, placed groceries in them and put them in the bins. We each had our own methodology, I mostly stuck to looking for pasta, rice, soup and diet food.
I knew exactly where the bins were located and it made the process efficient because I didn’t have to wander in search of the bin.
The entire crew from Walmart was efficient. Some people were responsible for emptying the large boxes of donations into bins for sorting, others were packing the sorted foods in boxes for delivery. We were like a machine and everyone determined what they were comfortable doing and did it.
We completed the job in a couple of hours, the food bank actually saved some food for us during the week because they knew we were coming. Apparently, the summer months are the slowest for foodbanks - people generally think about food donations around the holidays but there are always mouths to feed. If you are ever considering holding a food drive, perhaps work with your child over the summer to organize one when the need for the food is the greatest!
Overall, I think everyone involved had a wonderful time. I am actually considering visiting my local foodbank to donate some of my time. I know that around the holidays they will be inundated with food and in serious need of volunteers. If you have a few hours to spare consider donating time to help out at a food bank too.
The sense of accomplishment and joy in knowing that you are helping others is unmatchable!
Disclosure: My travel expenses to DC were provided by Walmart and I was compensated for photographing and documenting the event.