Volunteering for the Greater Boston Food Bank – Learning the Value of Teamwork

By Exclusive Concepts Blog Team

As a member of the BYPA (Boston Young Professionals Association), I was one of many volunteers who helped support the Greater Boston Food Bank on July 23rd, 2008.  This was a great opportunity for me to represent Exclusive Concepts while helping the greater Boston community.  I met many interesting young professionals and, more importantly, played an integral role in helping to feed the hungry.

To provide some background information, the Greater Boston Food Bank’s mission is to help end hunger in the eastern section of Massachusetts.  Based in South Boston, the Greater Boston Food Bank annually feeds more than 320,000 people by providing important food for soup kitchens, residential shelters, food pantries, senior centers and more for the hungry.  This association is the largest hunger-relief organization in New England and one of the largest in the United States.  (www.gbfb.org)

I was excited to be a part of this event, and showed up promptly at 5pm on Wednesday, the 23rd .  There I met up with various BYPA members and volunteers from other organizations to help feed the hungry.  Our mission that night was to use teamwork to create as many food packages as possible in a 3 hour span.  My primary role was titled “Loader,” and my secondary function was to assist in food sorting.  I was the first member in an assembly line that would unload, sort, organize and repackage food units to be sent out to the needy.  Boxes unloaded by me were pushed to the first line of sorters.  First Line Sorters then removed and threw out “bad items” such as broken jelly jars, open cereal bags and expired juice boxes.  Items that could be salvaged, such as unopened pasta packages, cans with only minor dents and untouched water bottles were moved to the Second Sorters and Quality Control Team.  Here the items were organized appropriately into boxes based on food type and double checked for any damages or issues.  Juice and water items were kept together, meat products kept separate, soup cans moved into another group, etc.  After organization and QA, boxes were finally closed, weighed, labeled and loaded to be shipped out.

Our volunteer shift ended at 8:00pm, and we all gathered to shake one another’s hands and reward ourselves with cold drinks of water.  We were a small group of only about 15, but were pleased to discover, as a team, that we helped unload, sort and reload 5,060 lbs of food.  Our efforts supplied 3,120 meals to the hungry!  I was happy and gratified to know I had assisted the community of Boston and Massachusetts.  Volunteering for the Greater Boston Food Bank was a rewarding experience, where I not only helped feed the hungry, but also met great people and learned the true value of teamwork.