This September, Second Harvest Food Bank is honoring a mother and daughter team who regularly volunteer together to fight hunger in their community.
When did you start volunteering with Second Harvest?
Tiffany (mother): We have supported Second Harvest through food drives and the Penny Drive every year, personally or through friends/family. It is too long to remember when it started. My first time physically helping in the warehouse was with my older daughter through her school about 10 years ago, which my other daughter Emma, subsequently, also did through school a few years later. Starting in 2018, Emma and I began volunteering in the warehouse on a regular basis during summers while she was not in school and had more time.
What is your favorite volunteer opportunity and favorite volunteer memory?
Emma (daughter): Our favorite volunteer activity is making backpacks. Physically, we enjoy the assembly line process and how items fit in the bag like a puzzle. Emotionally, we both feel sad and overwhelmed at knowing how many children rely on schools for their meals, and we are hopeful our few hours of contribution help them over the weekends when food may be scarce. We always wish we could make more.
Tiffany: I cannot think of one specific memory. Being able to spend one on one time with my daughter while also helping families in need is priceless.
Emma: I love that we volunteered so many times, people knew us by name. I enjoyed talking to and getting to know the people who work there. I was glad to know my time helped others.
Why it is important for you to volunteer?
Tiffany: We have been staggered to learn how many people in our community don’t know where their next meal will come from and are at risk of going hungry every day. We realize that the more we volunteer, the more people we help. We hope giving our time and funds and hosting food drives not only helps directly but might inspire others to volunteer as well.
Emma: I hosted a virtual food drive last summer when we couldn’t help in person due to health concerns with COVID. It was amazing to see how many meals we provided with the funds raised. With that in mind, I wanted to do another one. I realized that no matter the size of the donations, we can make a huge impact together. I also hosted a traditional food drive. In a similar way, I learned that many small donations of food add up to significant pounds collected. You don’t have to raise the huge amounts of big companies or massive food drives to make a difference. Each one of us giving even a small amount collectively helps so many people.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about Second Harvest?
Tiffany: Second Harvest is an amazing place that does such good work for the community. They always need and welcome volunteers. There’s a job for everyone to help out, it’s fun, and you’ll meet wonderful people.