When Sherry Birckhead lost her job last year she brainstormed different ways to stay busy. She remembered hearing one of her favorite radio stations talk about Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and the different ways that people could help out. Volunteers play an essential role in Second Harvest’s ability to distribute 63 million meals each year to people experiencing hunger.
“The first time I showed up, I had no idea what to expect,” recalls Sherry. “I was quickly impressed at how well the organization is run and how much we accomplished in such a short time.”
Sherry returned week after week to lend a hand sorting food donations from local grocery stores. She and several other regular volunteers, who she now considers friends, work together to sort frozen meat for distribution to 550 local food pantries and other feeding partners.
“Volunteering gives me a tremendous sense of purpose. I feel like I’m part of a family,” says Sherry. “I also like that volunteering is a good workout. We really hustle out there.”
Over the last twelve months, Sherry became an integral part of food bank operations and recently accepted the role of volunteer captain. Volunteer captains are a dedicated group of volunteers that warehouse staff can rely on to help lead projects, provide instructions to new volunteers and encourage volunteer groups.
“I love being able to look back at the end of a shift and say ‘Wow, we did that,’” says Sherry, adding, “It’s the greatest feeling knowing that we are feeding so many people, especially the kids.”