Hunger Is a Crime, Says Volunteer
To kick off April as Volunteer Appreciation Month, we wanted to tell you about Jay, one of our volunteers.
Although Jay is a loyal volunteer here, he wishes Second Harvest Heartland didn’t have to operate in the first place.
“I think it’s a crime that this day in age, we even need an organization like Second Harvest Heartland,” Jay said. “I wish Second Harvest Heartland didn’t have to exist. Because it does, it provides a really important function. You have to eat.”
When Jay started volunteering with us, he began shifts packing and sorting food. Unfortunately, Jay hurt his back a little more than a year ago, so warehouse volunteer shifts didn’t work as well for him. Determined to keep fighting to end hunger, he switched to more administrative volunteer work that would be less strain on his back.
Not long after, he heard about Second Harvest Heartland’s Hunger & Health initiative, and his career experience in public health came rushing back to him.
He is now giving three hours a week helping with Second Harvest Heartland’s new FOODRx program, which he enjoys. “It’s been fun to do something that has a heath connection,” Jay said. “The staff that I’ve worked with [at Second Harvest Heartland] is just phenomenal. They treat me really well—they really affirm my presence, and that is across the board,” Jay added.
Having been a part of Second Harvest Heartland’s donated workforce for more than two years, he’s put together what he believes is one of the barriers to ending hunger. “I think out-of-sight, out-of-mind is a big thing. I would ask people to do a [warehouse] shift to see the quantity and quality of the food that gets shipped out at one location every day,” Jay said. “There are people who need that food… I’m not seeing the people who need that food, but I see how huge the problem is.”
Jay is one of 28,000 volunteers who gave their time to Second Harvest Heartland last year. Thank you so much, Jay, for your dedicated service!
For Volunteer Appreciation Month, we are featuring a different volunteer every week in April. Although we will only share four stories this month, every single one of the volunteers who together gave 132,000 hours last year have made our work possible. You can learn more about volunteer impact here.