11 November 2010

december project preview: food lifeline in shoreline, wa

December brings me home to Seattle to volunteer with Food Lifeline, a nonprofit food distribution agency working to provide nutritious food to hungry, low-income people in Western Washington state. It was my intention to finish up TGCP somewhere close to home to emphasize the importance of volunteering within your community. But the winter and holiday seasons seem to create additional volunteer needs in Seattle (and most urban environs, I would guess), so I decided to move up my local service project in the grandmaster schedule.

That said, I am using this opportunity to encourage people within the Seattle area community to get out and volunteer during the holiday season. Already, I have 19 people signed on to come volunteer with me at Food Lifeline over the month of December, and it’s my goal to at least double that number. Who am I kidding? I’m an overachiever, so what I really mean is that I’d like to quadruple that number. Wait! Let’s make it an even 100 people.

I recently learned that some companies, like Parker Staffing Services, offer their employees paid time off per quarter to volunteer. How cool is that? (Parker Staffing Service has 10 – yes, 10! – employees joining the food distribution festivities.) If you’re a 9-to-5er, ask your boss if your company offers similar perks – you never know.

Here are the details:
I plan on volunteering in Food Lifeline’s Product Recovery Center (PRC), Monday – Friday afternoons. PRC is open Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30 and needs volunteers help sort, inspect, and repack foods that have been donated by local grocery stores. It is a physical job that requires you to stand on a concrete warehouse floor for long periods, and you will need to be able to safely lift 30-40 pounds. PRC volunteers need to be age 16 or older. They ask that volunteers make a minimum 2 hour per visit commitment, most stay for 3-4 hours, and some make a full 6-8 hour day out of their time. PRC’s morning volunteer session runs from 8:30-12:00, and afternoon session run from 12:30-4:30. Volunteers can commit to a one-time volunteer session, or you can volunteer on a few specific dates, or you can commit to help once per week.

If this opportunity doesn’t sound like your thing, that’s okay, because Food Lifeline has lots and lots of other volunteer needs. And…if you don’t feel like volunteering with Food Lifeline, that’s okay too. The bottom line is: all I want for Christmas (let’s pretend for a second that I believed in the baby Jesus) is for you to get out there and do something nice to give back to your community. Easy peasey, right? Big change doesn’t require a hero’s effort. Just a few hours of kindness can provide comfort and make you a hero to someone else -- especially during the holidays.

To register to volunteer at Food Lifeline:
Please send an email to Food Lifeline’s Volunteer Coordinator, Karen Chernotsky, karenc@fll.org and state what date(s) and time you are available to help.

Please and thank you in advance for your consideration. Seriously, gimme two hours of your time and I pinky swear promise we’ll have a blast. That’s the best thing about volunteering – it feels good.

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