By Summer Nguyen |
On Saturday, February 13th, more than forty students and parents gathered to help families in need at the Gleaner’s Distribution Center in Warren, MI. This volunteering event was hosted by the club BuildOn, at our school. BuildOn is entirely dedicated to helping others who are deprived by holding events such as volunteering at Gleaner’s. The club members plan on having volunteering opportunities monthly at various locations, such as soup kitchens and food distribution centers.
The Gleaner’s session lasted for two and a half hours, and had students categorize enormous bins of food. The crate held canned and boxed goods and the volunteers needed to sort expired versus fresh food. Participants were split up into groups of eight and then assigned to one of five bins. Each group was given a list of the shelf life of each type of good and then began the process.
To distinguish good and bad food, good food was packaged into boxes while expired food was put into a grocery cart. Items that didn’t have an expiration date listed on the package was placed into a separate grocery cart that would later be scanned and checked.
The first half of the bin was easy to reach into, yet after the halfway point, some volunteers took different measures.
Some would climb into the bin and then hand the volunteers on the outside food. It was a fun and playful experience; not to mention more efficient and helpful. The people who sat in the bin checked for the date; if it was good, then it was stored. If not, it was put into a cart. If the date wasn’t there, it was put into another cart. The process went much faster, as there were not as many discrepancies along the way anymore.
Suha Iqbal, who was one of the volunteers who climbed into the box, states, “[It was] fun, but kind of long – that box was big. Yet many companies didn’t put expiration dates, which was frustrating.” The box was indeed quite large, and the group I was in finished last. The bin contained many different types of food, so looking up each kind was very time-consuming. At the end of the day, however, we realized that it was definitely worth it. Preethi Gorla states, “I realized that everyone’s contribution even just a little of it, can make a big difference towards someone’s life.”
After this entire ordeal was finished, the groups moved on to folding grocery bags for the rest of the time. This was a nice and relaxing way to finish up the day, especially after hauling cans and boxes of goods for two hours.