“I can’t change the world, but I can make it a little better,” says Al, a volunteer captain at Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.
Al has volunteered at Second Harvest’s main Orlando warehouse since 2016. In the last year, he began volunteering more frequently at the warehouse and Mercy Kitchen, the new production kitchen facility a few miles north on Mercy Drive, logging over 1,000 hours of service to help his neighbors.
Volunteers like Al perform a variety of essential tasks to help get food to neighbors facing hunger. One project is sorting food donations from grocery stores, warehouse clubs, distribution centers, and food manufacturers. Items are inspected to ensure food safety and packaged into boxes for distribution to a network of 550 feeding partners and ultimately families facing hunger.
“We’re keeping thousands of pounds of good food out of the dumpster and sending it to people who really need it,” explains Al. “And there’s a lot of people that really need help now.”
One in seven Central Floridians, and one in five kids, are at risk of going to bed hungry. With the help of individuals, corporate groups, sports teams, and other volunteers, Second Harvest Food Bank is able to distribute enough food to provide 250,000 meals a day across six Central Florida counties.
Another volunteer opportunity is at Mercy Kitchen, Second Harvest Food Bank’s production kitchen. Here, volunteers help package meals for children, veterans, and seniors.
“This is where kindness meets reality,” says Al. “You can sit at home and write a check to a charity and it goes in the mail and you feel good for some period of time. But here, you’re actually producing something. You can come here for three hours and feed 7,000 kids.”
With every hour spent scooping, packing, and sending out meals to Central Florida families, Al is grateful he can help and hopeful that others will consider joining him as a volunteer in 2022.
Experience where “kindness meets reality.”
Second Harvest volunteers make an incredible difference.