Meeting the people we serve: my volunteer story

Megan volunteers at Care for Real, a food pantry in Chicago.
April 11, 2016
by Megan Vincenti

On my second week as an employee at Feeding America I had the opportunity to volunteer at a local food pantry, Care for Real - a member agency of the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  

I had volunteered at a food bank in the past but never a pantry. Food banks store, pack and distribute food and groceries to a network of food pantries and meal programs that directly serve it to people in need. Many times, food banks don’t serve food to people directly – rather, that’s the job of a food pantry. I really enjoyed volunteering and meeting a small portion of people who are served by Feeding America.

It was amazing to see the range of people from every age, race and ethnic background who came to Care for Real in the span of only four hours. Care for Real operates on a choice-based model which means people can choose the food they wish to take home, like an ordinary grocery store. This allows them to avoid foods they or their family will not eat due to allergies, religion, etc.   

I (and another co-worker) were in charge of the frozen meat. We gave out everything from hot dogs, to pork chops and whole chickens. People were extremely appreciative of the food, volunteers and staff.

The staff at Care for Real were dedicated and compassionate people. They only have four full-time staff so they rely heavily on volunteers. As a group we served 179 households, which wasn’t bad for a Friday morning.

As a new employee at Feeding America, I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer. It was great to ground myself in our mission and who we truly are working for at the end of the day.

*Megan Vincenti is a senior marketing specialist at Feeding America.

Tags: Hunger Heroes , Volunteer , Illinois , Greater Chicago Food Depository

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