One of the duties of Second Harvest’s Agency Relations Department is to not only monitor but make sure our partner agencies are receiving everything they need from us. Our Agency Relations team thought it would be a good idea to volunteer with our agencies to get a different perspective of how the agencies serve their clients in need.
The first Agency Relations Coordinator to volunteer and write about this experience is Paula Assal.
Read about her experience below:
On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, I volunteered during the distribution at Apostolic Church of Jesus/West Orange. One of agency relations goals is to provide better customer service and to nurture the agency partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank. Our hope is that by volunteering at the agencies I will not only have a better understanding of the agency needs but we can assist the agencies in a capacity that staff members haven’t experienced yet. It is as much of a learning experience for me as it is for the agency.
My time at Apostolic was spent talking to Stephanie, the pantry coordinator, assisting clients with the intake process, and restocking shelves. The intake process is not an easy job as many clients are reluctant to give their name and address for the paperwork needed. Each client that came was so happy to be blessed with what Apostolic could offer them by means of food and clothing. Some of the clients had difficulty filling out the form but each had a smile on their face as they left with their food. Patience and understanding is a big part of helping clients complete the forms.
It felt so good seeing each client come in with anticipation on their face and relief when they left knowing that if nothing else their families were going to eat that night. Afterwards, I helped restock shelves and date food product, no easy task as food is very heavy and keeping in mind rotating the food. When it was all over we had served 29 families in two hours. What a blessing to the community!
I look forward to the upcoming months to volunteer at different pantries and have similar but different experiences. I am so excited to be a part of the pantry process.
Agency Relations Coordinator