We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends - Capital Area Food Bank
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We Get By With a Little Help From Our Friends

By Anthony Agby March 20, 2012

Food banks survive thanks to the help and hard work of warehouse volunteers. They come for a variety of reasons and have diverse backgrounds yet unite to help end hunger in the Washington metro area. These volunteers are the driving force behind our food distribution and allow us to feed thousands daily.
On arrival, volunteers are led into a large sorting area filled with crates of food and empty boxes. All volunteers undergo orientation conducted by our Salvage Coordinator, David McCall, before beginning work. He leads a quick training session and provides a tour of the facilities. In orientation they learn their sense of purpose and see how their work is mission critical to food bank operations and feeding people.
Food is first vetted to ensure it is consumable. Volunteers check expiration dates and inspect for compromised packaging. Anything suspect is tossed. The food is then sorted into 31 categories based on dietary classifications (e.g. pasta, fruits, vegetables, etc.). Once categorized, the food is ready for distribution.
Why volunteer? Why devote time and energy to helping others eat?
Alexandra ‘Sasha’ Beskorowni believes:

It’s all about community building. You get to know people from all over and come together to take on an issue.

For Stephen Gibson, it is service for the homeless:

People need to educate themselves on the issues of homelessness. What they really go through and have to face every day. They need to take that knowledge and spread it to others.

Cynthia Hass is passionate about hunger issues:

I grew up in a low-income neighborhood. This is a passion of mine. There should be better diets for all. Instead of sympathy, it’s empathy. That’s what will make the difference.

As evidenced, our volunteers are motivated by altruism and improving the community. While some arrive with knowledge of hunger issues, all leave better understanding the scale within our service area of nourishing our neighbors in need. They really step up and make a difference in people’s lives. We’re proud to have great people regularly volunteering that embody the mission and values of the food bank.