Over the course of this semester, I have had the privilege of doing many things I would not have done otherwise if it weren’t for this class. Some of the activities and assignments I have had the privilege of doing included going to the UD Botanical Gardens, learning more about the environment, and most importantly volunteering. A few weeks ago I volunteered at the Food Bank of Delaware. When going to the food bank, I had no idea what to except. I had never really volunteered at a food bank before. When I thought of what I would being doing there, I thought of handing out food to people, making food, etc. Part of my expectations were correct. I got there at 6:30AM and stayed until 9:30AM. When I first got to the food bank, I was instructed to wash my hands, put my belongings away and put on a hair net (this explains the lack of pictures I took as I did not have my phone on me). First, I helped the other volunteers package food to go out to the school. The food consisted of a bagel, sauce, cheese, and turkey (think pizza bagels). We needed to package about 600 meals. After that, the other volunteers and I were instructed to pack coolers filled with snacks that were going to other cites. I think that this was the part out of all that stuck with me the most. Each volunteer was assigned a snack to put in a cooler. The coordinator would call out a number and a cooler, and that is how many of your assigned snack you would put in said cooler. I remember him saying, “try to be as accurate as possible. If there is an incorrect number of snacks, that is one kid that is not getting a snack, and you do not know where their next snack or meal will come from.” This is the part that had the most impact on me because it really showed me how I was directly making a difference and helping the kids that really need it the most. I was able to see how by placing a snack in a cooler, I would be giving someone food who might not know where their next meal was going to come from. From that moment on, I made sure I was very precise in my counting and counted everything correctly. After packing the coolers, we moved on to our last task which was to make sandwiches and bag them up to go as well. All of the food we packaged and made was handled with care as it was going to people who really needed it. Lastly, we helped clean up the kitchen after we were done making and packaging all the food. It is easy to not think about these kinds of situations when they do not affect you. If you do not have to wonder where you next meal is coming from or how you are going to get it, you might not think about that. This experience was eye opening to me as a volunteer because I was taught why it is important to think of others and how your actions can impact them. Aside from my experience, there are many other reasons why donating to a food bank is important. I looked to grist.org to inquire other ways to keep food banks healthy for the people that are receiving this food. Grist encourages people to not only donate nonperishable greens, but greens that are free of chemicals. Grist also encourages people to donate organic foods if the budget allows. I think this speaks to a larger problem within food banks — people think that if they donate a canned good thats nonperishable, their job is done. However, people must be aware that we cannot just donate food and call it a day. We must put thought into what we bring to these food banks, as it does truly matter for those who are receiving it. The EPA also speaks to donating food, and the reason why it is important. Aside from helping those in need, the EPA explains how we can reduce environmental impact. If each person redirected their unspoiled or nonperishable foods to the food banks of America, we would be able to decrease the environmental impact by a great deal. Feeding others AND saving the environment? I do not know what better reasons I give you to volunteer at your local food banks!

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/donating-food

http://grist.org/article/2009-12-10-checkout-line-food-bank/

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