My First Second Harvest Heartland Volunteer Experience
This is a guest post by our communications and journalism intern, Meghan Meints. Meghan is a senior at St. Thomas University, majoring in journalism. Read about Meghan’s first Second Harvest Heartland volunteer experience.
As a Second Harvest Heartland intern, I have been visiting the Maplewood facility twice a week for the last four months. I’ve seen volunteers filtering in and out every day for their volunteer shifts, and have even observed some of them in action.
Even though I’ve been with Second Harvest Heartland since June, this month was the first time I visited the Golden Valley facility to help with food packing in the warehouse.
The day I volunteered, 13 people packed food for two hours, and had fun doing it!
The day started off with a short video and introduction provided by Jim, our volunteer ambassador. My favorite take-away from the video was the concept that being hungry is like having someone steal something from you; “If your friend or neighbor was being robbed, you wouldn’t stand by and watch. You would fight back.”
We then washed up and started bagging potatoes. The process is simple: fill a bin with 10 pounds worth of potatoes, bag them, and then fill a 40 pound bag with the 10 pound bags.
After packing 1,596 pounds of potatoes for an hour, we took a short break before starting on the next project—popcorn.
The popcorn kernels are put into plastic bags and then weighed so that each is one pound. The bags are then sealed, dated and boxed. These are simple tasks, but having music playing in the background and getting to know your fellow volunteers really helped to pass the time.
After an hour, we packaged 1,290 pounds of popcorn. The totes we didn’t finish were sealed up and set aside for the afternoon volunteer group. We then watched a closing video and met some of the people who we were directly helping with our volunteer time. Finally, we got our packing numbers for the day: 2,886 pounds of food packed in two hours!
Overall, my volunteer experience was a fun and easy way to spend two hours of my day. I met new friends, listened to fun music, and made an impact on those in my community who are hungry.
You can volunteer, too! Signing up for a volunteer session at Second Harvest Heartland is easy; just visit their website here, choose a date and time, and you’re good to go.