I recently heard about a great opportunity to spend a few hours with my six-year-old daughter sorting food at Second Harvest Food Bank.
After signing up in advance, we showed up with almost 30 other people for what turned out to be their “BackPack Program.” The food bank gathers and distributes food so children in need can take a small bag of food home from school with them on the weekends.
Two long stations were set up with boxes of packaged food. As volunteers, we each filled a ziploc bag with two entrees, two fruit cups, two boxes of cereal, one milk, one juice and a snack. We closed the bag (which turned out to be the trickiest part for my daughter) filled boxes with the bags and began again.
As the large boxes of cereal and fruit were emptied, someone would step up and find a replacement on a shelf and the process would continue. We all took turns breaking down the empty boxes and keeping the supply tables full. Shortly after starting, we got into a rhythm and boxes and boxes were wheeled out by the palate-full.
My daughter had been eyeing a few children who were taping the flat boxes together to be filled. We kept filling bags until she finally saw her break and jumped into the box-taping assembly line. She and the other children taped and taped until they had a wall of boxes.
By the end of the night, we were tired and hungry. I couldn’t help but feel odd that I was hungry after working a few hours and we were packing up food for children who might otherwise not have much to eat for days. The work was hugely rewarding and it was amazing to be part of a group of strangers who came together and worked so well as a team. Both my daughter and I plan to do this again. We talked on the way home about how lucky we are to have access to food every day.
Family Nights are for children ages six and older and are held every Thursday night from 5:30-7:30pm. To sign up go to Hands on Nashville.