I am a college student at University of Missouri Kansas City and we were required as part of a class project to volunteer our time (about 3.5 hours) to become aware of the community engagement process. I have volunteered many places and had and excellent experience at Harvesters KC. I would love to volunteer again and take my son soon to join in the experience.
Review from Guidestar
Our group of mostly older adults volunteered one afternoon. We lifted frozen meat ranging from lunch meat up to roasts and turkeys from large deep boxes into 30-lb. boxes, which we then carried to a table to be weighed. This was rather strenuous work requiring repeated bending, and involved comparatively heavy lifting considering the average age of the volunteers.
His name is Harvey and he's our Mascot. He's the newest, freshest Turkey around (having replaced "Classic Harvey" from previous years). He also has this uncanny ability to make kids and adults alike break into smile. Harvey the Harvesters Turkey made his appearance at the Liberty Price Chopper days before Thanksgiving. A constant flow of people in and out of the store passed us by in a rush to buy their last minute goods. A near immediate transformation took place when Harvey made his first appearance, though. A congenial Star 102 employee offered to parade around in a lovely (warm!) turkey suit to draw attention to our food drive and boy, did it ever! I was touched by the faces of children, eyes lit up and broad smiles glowing as they watched him strutting his stuff. Even the parents couldn't help but smile! Little ones would rush up for a high-five and laugh excitedly, even commenting on how Harvey's fur tickled their hands. One little girl threw a fit when Mom picked her up to get in the car - she did not want to leave Harvey's presence! There was the occasional outcry when a particularly young child would scream and drag Mom the other way but this reaction was by far the exception. Their parents smiled, enjoying the laughter a simple costume brought to their children. They were more open to listening to us explain the needs of the hungry and quite often left the store with goods in hand for us. Some lucky children even gave the cans directly to Harvey! (sort of...feathers aren't ideal for holding cans) By far, the most startling transformation were the adults without children. Before his appearance, they would walk by briskly and avoided eye contact at all costs. Yet when Harvey started wiggling his tail to old Christmas tunes, they would watch with a bemused smile and a slight twinkle in their eyes. Their guards dropped and they listened, often asking about specific needs in the community. Who knew what an impact a turkey costume could make?