My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Food Finders Food Bank Inc, LAFAYETTE, IN, USA
This week I had the opportunity to dedicate some of my time at the local Food Finders Food Bank, Inc. in Lafayette, IN. Food Finders is responsible for distributing food not only to Tippecanoe county, but to fifteen surrounding counties in Indiana as well. The program is funded by the United Way, grants, foundations, corporate sponsors, USDA, and private donors. These organizations help Food Finders distribute more than 7 million pounds of food annually to non profit organizations that work to alleviate hunger throughout North-Central Indiana. They do this through a variety of programs. The Agency Partner Program is responsible for providing the single largest source of food for over 160 hunger relief agencies such as soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters. The mobile pantry outreach program has a “farmers market” style distribution. Food Finders takes a truck load of food across the central 16 counties to efficiently reach the Hoosiers who need it most. The Senior Grocery Program provides for seniors who are in need and have special dietary restrictions. This helps if they are unable to utilize certain food resources such as pantries and soup kitchens or if they have mobility issues. Another helpful outreach initiative is the Backpack Program. Shockingly every 1 out of 5 kids in Indiana alone struggles with hunger. Even with free or reduced lunch programs, these children have no food on the weekends. This program dedicates a backpack of food so the children have something to eat between Friday afternoon and Monday morning. Food Finders is responsible for over 4,000 backpacks each week. A majority of these programs are not possible without the help of volunteers.
Walking in to Food Finders Food Bank, Inc. I was not aware of the impact a single person can make in an organization such as this. First, I was introduced to a few staff members and about 8 other volunteers ready to make a difference. My assignment for the day was to package Pinto beans from a large 2000 lb. sack, into smaller 2lb. portion sizes where the bag was then sealed and placed in a box ready to distribute. Before I began, I had to apply a disposable hair net, gloves, and even an apron. Although, the task was as easy as dividing and weighing this mass of beans into small 2lb. packages, I still felt that what I was doing could potentially be making an impact on someone’s life. By the end of the day I was solely responsible for about 100 bags of Pinto beans ready to be sent to people in need.
By participating in this service learning activity it opened my eyes to not only the hunger issues of the world, but the very issues that are happening right where I live. I am now aware that 20% of children in the state I was born and raised has issues getting one of the main necessities of life. This not only deeply saddened me about my fellow Hoosiers, but it also brought to light how important this issue is globally. If children in the United States are having trouble eating, I can only imagine the trouble this issue is causing on a global scale. I am thankful I never had to grow up with such a tragedy, but now I am aware the impact this holds with the rest of the world. I am thankful that I had an opportunity to make a difference even if it was only 100 bags of pinto beans. I hope that some day the people of the world can take a few hours out of their week to volunteer for a good cause like Food Finders.