When some people think about volunteering at a food bank, thoughts of sorting multiple varieties of canned goods comes to mind. And while the Tarrant Area Food Bank does rely on volunteers to help with sorting millions of pounds of canned and boxed foods each year, that’s only one way to help. In honor of National Volunteer Week, we wanted to introduce you to five unique ways you can volunteer your time at our food bank.
- Get your gardening on! Yes, you can volunteer to work in one of our two outdoor Learning Gardens. Volunteers do everything from pulling weeds to planting and harvesting fresh fruits and vegetables that literally go from “garden to table” as we send our products directly to food pantries for distribution. While you’re volunteering, you’ll also get expert tips to improve your home gardens!
- It’s about more than sorting food at Tarrant Area Food Bank as we strive to provide high-quality nutritional education year round in our Cooking Matters program. Volunteer nutritionists and culinary instructors are always needed to help teach courses in healthy food preparation, purchasing good foods on a budget, learning how to shop your grocery store to get the best results and so much more. If you have this passion, we need you!
- Help us assemble Hunger Relief Kits for our most at-risk populations, including the homeless. Volunteers can come to Tarrant Area Food Bank, or host a volunteer packing event off-site, to assemble special items including peanut butter, canned meat, beef jerky, crackers, applesauce and other items needed by vulnerable people in our community. You provide the volunteer time and we’ll provide you a list of just what to pack.
- Se habla espanol? We need you! In many of our programs, especially our nutrition programs, Spanish language interpreters save the day for many local residents learning to get healthy and stay healthy. Spanish speakers can also help at special events, food distribution locations and other areas that support the TAFB mission.
- Change your life for the better by helping us distribute healthy and nutritious food through our Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Garden on the Go. Volunteers at these programs touch the mission right where it happens – with the family needing food. As a customer service volunteer, you’ll help families with their food selections and help them get their products bagged and carried out to their cars. You’ll hear many stories and words of thanks when you volunteer in this area.
We hope you’ll consider joining Tarrant Area Food Bank as a volunteer. These are five ways to help, but there are many more. To learn more about the array of opportunities, visit our website at www.tafb.org/volunteer, find the place where you fit and start your volunteer story today.
Anita Foster, staff contributor, Tarrant Area Food Bank