Volunteering at Any Age

October 11, 2013 By: Sara Blair Category: WordPress Import

“Hey, hard worker!” yells the crowd of older adults as 12-year-old Gabby Franco enters the warehouse at Second Harvest Heartland East in Maplewood. Gabby greets the volunteer crew she worked with this past summer, separating bread from pallets and packing boxes of commodity products for seniors. The experience proved to be a rewarding and memorable part of her summer vacation.

“I had some free time during the summer, and I thought it would be fun to come here and do something good,” says Gabby, whose mom is a Second Harvest Heartland employee. She enjoyed the experience so much that she invited a friend to join her, and they kept the crew laughing, smiling and singing along while they unpacked “lots and lots of bread.”

For Gabby, volunteering is part of sharing the things she has in her life. “I have a family, and a house and plenty of food. It’s good to give other people things that you take for granted,” she says.

Youth volunteers like Gabby are becoming more involved in community organizations, as service hours and volunteer projects become part of the fabric of schools, clubs and faith groups. Research from Youth Service America states that youth who volunteer are more likely to respect others, understand other cultures and become more civically engaged. Youth comprise approximately 18 percent of the total hours donated by volunteers at Second Harvest Heartland to date during 2013, up from less than 5 percent a few years ago.

This energetic seventh grade softball and hockey player is ready to sign up to volunteer again next summer. “It was neat, and a great experience,” she says. Thank you, Gabby!

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Kids ages 8 to 18 are welcome to volunteer at Second Harvest Heartland when accompanied by an adult. Check the Volunteer area of our website for details.

Be part of a great event and join us on Bring Your Child to Serve Day, sponsored by Bremer Bank, Monday, January 20, 2014! Volunteer shifts are posted on our calendar.

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