Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 5: Volunteer at Greater Boston Food Bank

Difficulty: 3
Cost: Free
Time: 2.5 hours, plus travel time

I'm embarrassed to say, I haven't done any volunteering since college. A friend mentioned that the Greater Boston Food Bank always needs people, so I signed-up online for their Saturday morning shift.

I expected to be working in a dirty warehouse alongside people there for court ordered community service. Maybe I'm a selfish person because it didn't occur to me that people might choose to get up early on a Saturday to, you know, do something good.

Actually, I was working in their brand-new, very modern and clean facilities alongside lots of friendly, happy people. There was a high school group, a couple of BU students, one guy who might have been there for community service and a cute young woman who I wanted to ask for her number but chickened-out without getting her name.

The recent snow storms had messed with their distribution system, so we spent the first half of our shift doing something unusual for them, sorting through pallets of "fresh" meat and produce to find what was still good. Sadly, over 75% of the food was no longer fresh.

The second half of our shift was what a typical volunteer would expect, sorting boxes of canned and pre-packaged foods into categories. I and three of the high school boys were in the conveyor loading spot which we made a game out of by playing the alphabet game.

It's really unfortunate that so much of the fresh food was bad, because the prepackaged stuff would form a very unbalanced food pyramid.

The assembly-line like distribution area. In total we sorted almost 5000 pounds of food products.

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