Our first service project was great fun and a huge success. Along with a spirited group of UCLA student volunteers, we helped pack a record 1,257 food boxes for seniors and others in need.
The LA Regional Food Bank serves nearly 800,000 people throughout LA County. Most of these people are the working poor who simply don't have enough money left at the end of the month to buy food after paying rent, utilities and other unavoidable monthly expenses -- many of them single moms with kids. The volunteer coordinator stressed that in these hard economic times there is huge demand for the food banks and significantly less supply coming in. It's an impressive operation with huge warehouses full of food, located just south of downtown LA, about 15 minutes from our east-side neighborhoods. They need help every day of the year, not just at the holidays when food drives are popular.
Arrival time was 8:45am. The first hour or so is spent waiting and getting organized and oriented. But once they put you to work, you WORK. Some of our HVC crew was on the front of the assembly line putting bags and 2 boxes of cornflakes into plastic crates. The others were on the line putting cans of grape juice and beef stew in the bags. A total of 11 HVC'ers came, and Jacob recruited a new member who happened to be there and be from our neighborhood, so we were 12 strong! We sweated and smiled together, all for an extremely worthy cause.
Note to selves for next time: eat a hearty breakfast before hand, bring a bottle of water, dress in peel-able layers and bring work gloves if you don't want your hands to get really dirty.