Many Hearts, One Mission

October 7, 2020 By: Nora Dragich - Volunteer Experience Supervisor Category: Hunger Stories

Second Harvest Heartland Brooklyn Park facility

The other morning on my way to work I was listening to one of my favorite literary podcasts and a guest brought up her fondness for novels where place is a central character—books where the location permeates every aspect of the story, has traits all its own and supports and develops other characters within the story. It’s an interesting idea, for what would Dorothy be without Oz, or Harry without Hogwarts? I’m an avid reader, but have never considered this concept in-depth and it stuck with me throughout my drive.

When I got to work and turned on the lights in our Volunteer Center I couldn’t help but think of this space as a character. A character celebrating its first birthday; a character that has grown, changed and impacted so many in the past 12 months; a character resting in the dim morning light, waiting to come alive and start the day. How many lives have changed because of this place in its first year? How many people have been fed?

Since our Volunteer Center opened close to a year ago on September 10, 2019, nearly 20,000 volunteers have passed through our doors—people looking to help others, socialize and serve their community.

Volunteer Center entrance

Within these walls, they’ve packed more than 4.8 million pounds of food. That’s equivalent to 4,058,824 meals, more than four million moments free of worrying where the next meal will come from.

Volunteer Center

There have been days where the walls seemed ready to burst with 100 volunteers inside and other days of heartfelt emptiness as we struggled to find a way to bring the joy of our volunteers back safely during a global pandemic.

Volunteer Center filled with volunteers packing food

This place supports employees and volunteers with roles that help others; it’s given me focus and purpose when the world has seemed out of control. The words “volunteer center” don’t seem like enough to describe a space that is so many things to so many people: it’s a workplace, a school, a social club, a sanctuary, a home.

Whatever we each call it, this place is nurturing, powerful and vital, and a dynamic character all its own. I invite you to celebrate this first-year milestone with us and join us in this truly incredible space!

–Nora Dragich, volunteer experience supervisor


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