Have you ever been curious about how a food bank works? I have been volunteering at the Interfaith Social Services in Quincy every Thursday morning for the past 6 months. Most of the food is donated by the Greater Boston Food Bank – you know that place in the South End…you can see it from the expressway. A lot of the local supermarkets will also donate food that is damaged or close to the expiration date. Interfaith has their own truck so they go to several different supermarkets each week.
As a volunteer your job is to help empty the trucks, check all dates on the food, and put the inventory in its proper place. Once the doors open at 10:00 am the families in need check in. Volunteers sit down with the family and ask what they might need. Each volunteer will go out back to fill up to 8 bags of food depending on the number of family members they have.
It can be quite humbling and will make you very grateful for all you have when you hear them say that they will take whatever you can offer. Some may ask for a birthday cake for their 5 year old that they cannot afford to buy. It is humbling to hear an elderly man – who obviously has a severe medical issue – ask you to please not put too many canned goods in his bags because of the weight – he has to walk a mile down the street in the rain to get on a bus to go home and feed him and his wife. Your heart just breaks for people like this and you want to do your best to help.
Each family is only allowed one visit per month. The end of each month is always the busiest where most have used up their food stamps and spent what money they had for necessities. No one is ever proud to be in a food shelter getting food for their family – but I can say I am proud to be able to help them!
If you are interested in volunteering please reach out to Interfaith Social Services at 617-773-6203 or visit them online interfaithsocialservices.org .