New Year’s Resolution: Volunteering
Each day, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts relies on the hard work and dedication of our volunteers that share our vision of a Western Massachusetts where no one goes hungry and everyone has access to healthy food. Their tireless work and generous support are just one of the many “ingredients” in the recipe to end hunger.
With the need for emergency food in our region continuing to grow, it takes many hands — all working together — to help feed our neighbors in need.
During our last fiscal year (Oct. 2014 – Sept. 2015), The Food Bank distributed nearly 10 million pounds of food to more than 211,000 neighbors in need throughout Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire Counties. We distributed 21% more food to Hampden County than we did the previous year, and saw a 10.5% increase overall to all four counties.
If your New Year’s resolution is to help strengthen our community by volunteering your time and talents, The Food Bank has a number of opportunities available for you throughout the year:
♦ Family Volunteer Days — Guests of all ages are welcome to choose between a number of educational and hands-on activities, including sorting and packaging food donations, decorating bags for our Brown Bag program, learning about nutrition, touring the warehouse, and more. In partnership with Hilltown Families, our next Family Volunteer Day will be held on Saturday, January 16, 2016 from 9 – 11 a.m. at our office in Hatfield. This month’s theme will be New Year’s Resolutions. Reservations are required by contacting The Food Bank’s Education Coordinator at 413-247-9738 or sign up here.
♦ Food Processing — you will work with other volunteers to conduct quality control, sort, weigh, and pack donated dry goods, frozen meat, dairy products, and seasonal produce. This food will be distributed to our member agencies (food pantries, meal sites, and shelters), as well as through our own direct-to-client feeding programs (the Mobile Food Bank and Brown Bag: Food for Elders).
♦ Support Special Events — help promote and support food drives, benefits and special Food Bank fundraising events & campaigns (such as Will Bike 4 Food). Volunteers are needed to help sell tickets, register guests, provide information, and assist with set-up and clean-up.
♦ Support Programs — assist with food security advocacy & outreach initiatives, SNAP enrollment, nutrition presentations, the Mobile Food Bank, or Brown Bag: Food for Elders program. This is a great way to meet other like-minded people in the community, and help raise awareness of the need for emergency food in our region.
♦ Administrative Support — we are always in need of vital behind-the-scenes assistance with coordinating mailings, managing filing & copying projects, making phone calls, and assisting with data entry at our office in Hatfield.
For more information about this event, as well as other ways you can take action, visit www.foodbankwma.org.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Wojcik is the Marketing & Communications Manager at The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts is committed to feeding our neighbors in need and leading the community to end hunger. Founded in 1982, The Food Bank is the leading provider of emergency food that reaches individuals and families in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties. From their warehouse in Hatfield, they distribute food to their member agencies (which include food pantries, meal sites and shelters) throughout the region. They continue to build a stronger community through a variety of initiatives, including our Mobile Food Bank, SNAP outreach, nutrition education, and our Brown Bag: Food for Elders program.