October may be the spookiest month of the year, but we at Second Harvest Food Bank had nothing to fear thanks to the valiant efforts of our amazing volunteers! This month, we welcomed some new faces and loved seeing our regulars as we worked together to feed our community. In addition to our usual volunteer opportunities (distributing food, sorting donated food items, packing CSFP boxes), with our new OrderAhead program underway, we also have dedicated volunteers preparing items so they are ready for pickup. Our October volunteers certainly did a spook-tacular job!
Volunteer Feature: Mercy Health Springfield Market
Mercy Health has been an important partner to Second Harvest Food Bank for many years, helping us launch our recent Health is Food initiative, raising funds to set up our one-call system, and sponsoring our Inaugural Harvest Breakfast. Another way Mercy Health supports our SHFB efforts is by volunteering with us every month!
A group of Mercy Health employees has been assisting our Champaign County drive-thru distributions at the Champaign County Fairgrounds this past year. Proudly sporting their company shirts, these Mercy Health employees help distribute food by loading cars during the drive-thru distribution process, making new friends with all the people they meet.
Their volunteer experience hasn’t been without memorable challenges though, as you never know what will happen when you’re hanging around outside with boxes of produce! One notable fall day, the group was invaded by some bees as they attempted to pass out apples at the distribution. Mike Benton, an Environmental Services Manager, was tasked with keeping the bees away. Though he didn’t do a particularly great job on bee duty since a couple of volunteers unfortunately still got stung, Mike walked away with skills that helped him become better at leading people and keeping Mercy Health’s facilities clean!
Volunteering with Second Harvest Food Bank greatly resonates with Mercy Health’s mission of “extending the compassionate healing of Jesus by improving the health and well-being of our communities and bringing good help to those in need.” Not only is volunteering a meaningful opportunity for the group to come together as a team, but it is also rewarding to visibly see the difference they are making in the community.
By being on the frontlines of directly alleviating food insecurity once a month, Mercy Health employees gain a better understanding of hunger’s impact on the community.
“It has been an eye-opening experience to witness the need in our own backyard,“ shared Jamie Houseman, President of Mercy Health Urbana. “We leave there knowing we have helped make a difference, but realize there is a food disparity in our own community amongst people of all age, race, income, etc. Hunger does not discriminate.”
Food insecurity definitely affects all demographics, which is why we are extremely thankful for our volunteers who help us help those impacted by hunger. Without your time and efforts, we would not be able to do what we do. Thank you, Mercy Health, for all the ways you support SHFB!
Recognizing October Volunteers
Thank you to every individual and group who volunteered with us in our warehouse or at our county distributions this month!
A very special thank you to:
Tony Weaver Jr.
Champaign Economic Partnership
Choice Properties Real Estate
Clark County Democratic Party
Covenant Presbyterian Church
First United Methodist Church
Mary Rutan Hospital
Middle Urbana Missionary Baptist Church
You’re in for a treat and no tricks when you volunteer with us! As we prepare for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season, we need all the volunteers we can get. Check out our available volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups and spread the holiday cheer in your community with SHFB.
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