One of the best things about doing a year of service with SCA, is as a corps we are able to actually volunteer at organizations outside of our workplace. This month the corps and one of our clean water organizers Jess all got to volunteer one Friday morning at the Food Bank.
Here is what everyone had to say about their experience:
Kate: Even though I am a vegetarian, along with so many people in the office and we had to sort through meat, the day was filled with laughter, teamwork, and that elated feeling you get when you know you are really helping people. It was great to see how much work the Food Bank actually does: they sort food, have a store in the building that people can shop at, and have a large warehouse for larger group to pick up what they need. I really enjoyed my time and can’t wait to volunteer there again.
Jeff: What I found really interesting at the food bank is that they were running a backpack program in which they provided "at risk" kids with food once a week. I had previously worked on this same program in my hometown in VA. My father helped create a chapter for our church and the program has been running strong for 2 years. I spoke with Jessica who runs the CT chapter and hopefully her and my father will link up to talk about lessons learned and ways to help more children.
Chamae: Most people will agree that the Neighbor to Neighbor Energy Challenge is an involved program with a lot of moving parts. The assembly line set-up at the food bank was a nice change of pace from our office. I felt like we were making a notable contribution without having to think too much and our pre-existing team dynamic made it easy for us to work efficiently and get a lot done during our time there.
Erin: We labeled and sorted a whole bunch of frozen meat products and sorted candy and bathroom products. It was pretty great.
Bijal: I had a great time volunteering at the Food Bank with our team and our coordinator, Craig. I previously had no idea how much work goes into organizing and labeling donated food products! Well... if work is dancing around to pop music and throwing meat products into cardboard boxes. We also got to taste candy..which is my dream job!
Kayla: I loved the hands-on service work aspect of it. We carried heavy slabs of meat, threw candy around, and put things into boxes. At the end of the day we could see that we had made hundreds of boxes and thousands of pounds of difference. Plus, I totally got my workout in for the day!
Jenna: One highlight of volunteering at the Food Bank was Craig, our fearless coordinator and overseer-of-haphazard-tossing-of-frozen-ham-hocks. He injected what could have been a monotonous chore with humor and energy, and I was inspired by his ability to distribute tasks efficiently and deliver clear directions without sacrificing the potential to enjoy ourselves. Having fun can be a big productivity booster when you stay focused, and we had a great time while accomplishing a lot in the few hours we were there. Striking this balance can be difficult, but it's something I'd like to bring back to the office and try to consciously implement in our sometimes monotonous and frequently stressful daily routine.
Stacy: We spend a lot of time in different communities throughout Connecticut but we rarely get out of the office as a team. It was great to work on a project as a group for an organization that's doing such good work for their community. I had a great time and it was a nice change of pace to contribute to a good cause outside of our usual energy conservation (even if all the vegetarians had to sort frozen meat). I can't wait for our next volunteer opportunity!
Kevin: The Food Bank outing that we partook in February was an amazing experience that really highlighted the amount of work that is actually done in a Food Bank. It was very rewarding to be able to see the effect that we had on people who had no way of obtaining food for themselves. It is important in our program to participate in outreach events beyond the scope of our program and give back to the community in which we live in; by helping those in need, such as those at the FoodBank.
-The CT Clean Energy Corps (Kate, Stacy, Kevin, Erin, Chamae, Bijal, Jeff, Kayla, and Jenna)