On a recent sunny Wednesday afternoon, members of the SquareTrade marketing team closed our laptops and headed over to the SF Marin Food Bank for a volunteer day.
We started off with a guided tour of the facilities, which are enormous and quite impressive—it looked like a fully stocked Costco inside! Since more than 60% of the food distributed by the organization is fresh, the whole warehouse was abuzz with beeping forklifts and workers moving crates of food onto trucks to go out into the community as quickly as possible.
We also learned a bit about the history of the food bank, and the need it serves.
Hunger is a serious problem in San Francisco and Marin, with a staggering one in four residents at risk. There’s also a common misconception that only homeless people face the threat of hunger, but in an area as expensive as San Francisco, people from all walks of life struggle. In fact, we learned that children, seniors, unemployed, and low-wage workers make up the majority of those struggling with hunger.
After our tour, we settled into our first job: sorting and packaging bell peppers. We stood around huge bins that were heavy with yellow, red, green, and multi-colored peppers, and took them out one by one, making sure they were ripe before packaging them. Most of the peppers were a little misshapen or slightly bruised in places, but otherwise perfectly fine. The Food Bank often receives this type of produce because misshapen vegetables won’t sell in stores for aesthetic reasons.
Next, we moved on to rice weighing and measuring. By the end of our shift, we’d packed hundreds of pounds of rice, listened to some great music, and also confirmed that nobody looks good in a hairnet.
All in all, we had a great time and appreciated the opportunity to give back to our community. It’s not an easy task to educate volunteers about the serious hunger problem in the Bay Area while remaining upbeat, but the SF and Marin Food Bank employees did just that, and made the whole experience one we’ll definitely repeat in the future!
If you’d like to learn more about the SF and Marin Food Bank, or volunteer your time, visit www.sfmfoodbank.org.