We Are Young: Young Volunteers Bring Energy to Second Harvest Heartland

April 24, 2013 By: Sara Blair Category: WordPress Import

Our volunteers are a big part of why we’re able to apply more than 96 percent of every donation directly to our programs. Last year volunteers donated 99,000 hours – equivalent to 47 full-time employees! As we continue to find new sources of food for our neighbors, we’re also finding new sources of volunteers: youth.

"If kids learn to volunteer at an early age, they tend to stay engaged and volunteer as adults,” says Jessica Hultgren, Second Harvest Heartland’s Director of Volunteer Services. Research from Youth Service America states youth who volunteer are more likely to respect others, understand other cultures and become more civically engaged.

More than half of the 387 volunteers at Second Harvest Heartland’s inaugural Bring Your Child to Serve event on Martin Luther King Day were youth. Kids spent the day off school with parents, youth group leaders and other adults, packing food at Second Harvest Heartland West during two-hour shifts.

Sue LaCroix and her 16-year-old daughter Katie participated in Bring Your Child to Serve Day as part of a National Charity League (NCL) group event. “This gave us a chance to work side-by-side with our daughters, expose them to the issue of hunger and get them engaged,” says Sue. “It was so manageable for parents and really energizing for the kids.”

Bring Your Child to Serve All Year Round
Consider scheduling a volunteer shift at Second Harvest Heartland to link volunteering with a milestone in a youth’s life (birthday, Bar Mitzvah, graduation, etc.) or organize an event with teachers, faith organizations or alumni groups. Then use the Community Room or Celebration Room to get your group together in conjunction with your volunteer event.

Kids age 8-18 are welcome to volunteer at Second Harvest West if they are accompanied by a guardian or responsible adult. Kids age 10-18 accompanied by an adult are welcome to assist with packing boxes for seniors at Second Harvest East and distributing food at Meals for Minds mobile pantry locations. Log on to 2harvest.org/volunteer to register to volunteer.


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