At three in the afternoon, every second and fourth Thursday of the month, seven dedicated volunteers from the Vista Verde Town Homes in Freedom, California, gather in the courtyard and prepare for food distributions. Jessica, Patti, Alicia, Lupe, Hermelinda, Maricela, and Livia, all residents of Vista Verde, are also long-term volunteers with a combined 90 years of volunteering for Second Harvest Food Bank. While many of the original crew have been volunteering for 15 years, some of the new volunteers to this distribution site only have a mere ten years under their belts.
Currently, the volunteers distribute 60 bags of food to families in the immediate area who are in need of healthy meals, up from the pre-pandemic count of 40 bags. The food distributed is 65% fresh fruits and vegetables to guarantee that subsequent meals will be fresh and healthy. In the past, Second Harvest Programs have provided nutrition education and cooking demonstrations, something that the volunteers look forward to offering again once all pandemic restrictions are lifted. While nutrition programming is varied, the 30-minute classes teaching the benefits of a fiber-rich diet, or new recipes utilizing the local vegetables provided by area farmers, were well received, and paved the way for larger food-related discussions.
The tight-knit group, Vista Verde volunteers remained dedicated throughout the pandemic. Safely masked and gloved, they made sure that all their neighbors in need received regular deliveries. At times personally taking food to the door, when at-risk neighbors were homebound, the volunteers didn’t hesitate to make the extra effort.
When asked why she volunteered at the distribution site, Jessica responded that, “it’s fun to feel helpful and it’s good for the community.” Patti explained that she would recommend volunteering to others because, “knowing the joy of making sure people are fed, helps yourself as well. It’s therapy to talk to people.”
This devoted group of volunteers take their jobs seriously to ensure their community is served on a consistent basis. We’re proud and uplifted by these ladies and thank them for their contributions.
To find out more about volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank email [email protected]