The Foodbank is run by the area churches. We serve clients from all around South Huron.. so Huron Park, Credition, Exeter and so forth.
The people who come in are from all walks of life. Some come in with smiles, others come a bit grumpy, others come in very shyly and others come in boldly. Some come in wanting to be helpful and will do work first before accepting any help. And still others come in all apologetic because they really don't want the help that we offer, but have children in need of feeding.
It doesn't matter who or why or how. We give enough food for three days and try to send people away with a smile. It's all good. Large families, small families, single people and more. We are there to lend a helping hand.
For a couple of different reasons.
1. God calls us to help others. To serve others in whatever way we can. This is a tangible way that we can reach out to those around us and help them in a way that is good and useful.
2. I've been there, done that. I've been in a position of needing the foodbank in other town and place. Injured from work and between jobs. The foodbank helps.
3. It's good to help a lad learn to help others.
- We divide big items into smaller ones. Cutting egg cartons in half, putting oatmeal and sugar into smaller more usable bags, and so forth. Sometime we get these great big bags of french fries that could feed three families for three days, so we divide those bags into smaller ones so more people can be assisted.
- We stock shelves. Put on display items that the area Food distributors bring us and that the community donates to us.
- We rotate stock. We aren't supposed to hand out expired goods if we don't have a need to, so we need to keep those off the shelves.
- We carry items out to cars.
- We load grocery items into bags, double bagging them for those who walk. We sometimes get in an abundance of those bags stores give away all the time.. those plastic or cloth reusable bags. Those are so nice to pack groceries into for those who walk.
- We keep things neat and tidy... sweeping floors, wiping tables, clearing snow, chasing out any mice (more like catching them and disposing of them). Keeping windows clean, cleaning shelves and what not.
When we aren't busy, he completes his school work. It's nice to get it done before we get home cause then he's free for the rest of the day. :)
When we are busy he helps to pack bags and carry things out to vehicles.
He stocks shelves when we get supplies in.
He fills bins to make it easier to quickly serve customers when they come in.
And he is most excellent at making badly dented cans more badly dented as they find there way into the disposal. :)
He is also our floor sweeper, egg divider and helper at anything we ask of him. He's such a useful helpful lad to have around.
What have we learned?
1. Past expiry food should not be handed out to people BUT just because something is past expiry doesn't mean it's gone bad. We deliberately hand it out, but we can make people aware of it and allow them to take it if they like. Canned goods are good for up to 10 years past expiry, the worst that tends to happen is the flavour might not be the same. That said... once it's five years past I toss it. My figuring is if I won't eat it, I won't offer it to someone else. :)
2. People donate expired goods frequently. I don't understand this. I love it when we get in goods that aren't expired...they are so easily put to good use. :)
3. Fresh foods are desired. Apples, oranges, cucumbers, potatoes, meat, potatoes, milk, eggs and such like. When we have them people are so happy to get them.
4. There are a lot of interesting people in my area that I've never met before and it's nice to have more faces that I recognize. The other day we were out and my son recognized one of our customers and said a very pleased "hello" to the fellow.