Aristotle, a man who literally wrote the book on Ethics, was spot on when he said, “What is the essence of life? To serve others and do good.” This past year many people embraced that concept, given that it also meant distracting themselves from the side effects of a global pandemic.

Volunteering is in fact the way I was introduced to Food Finders more than 11 years ago. What attracted me initially was the mission of not wasting food, a practice ingrained in me as a child of depression-era parents. For you, it could be the reward of seeing the gratefulness of people who are given access to nutritious food, or the ease and proximity that a volunteer opportunity with Food Finders offers. For Tina Freeman, it was all of those. She told us, “I really love volunteering for Food Finders. My role is simple, I collect the food that would otherwise be wasted and deliver it to very grateful organizations that support the heart of our communities. I find it incredibly meaningful to be part of this effort that helps feed families while also working to protect the environment.”

We have more than 300 volunteers that regularly donate their time– as a Hunger Hero that rescues and delivers food, a warehouse helper or an office angel, along with board members who help oversee the company growth and business strategy.

While many volunteers find us via VolunteerMatch, a good handful or more are referred by relatives and friends who have shared the happy stories and goodwill they experience. Some are corporate groups getting a little fresh air away from their desks. Kids are often encouraged by their schools to fill community service hours, and parents and grandparents like to demonstrate to their kids the importance of giving back. Food Finders has seen multiple generations of volunteers over the years, and it’s such a wonderful way to build our community of passionate, dedicated team members. We call volunteers the backbone of our organization, and truly we’d never be able to grow the way we have without them. Most certainly, volunteering makes for well-balanced lives.

Our volunteer coordinator Sylvia Rosas is an expert at providing orientation and support to candidates young and old, and our new Food Finders app makes it even easier and convenient. She shared, “Volunteers love the simplicity of the app and how easy it is to fit a food rescue into their schedule, whether its weekly or just whenever they have time to hop on the app and claim a rescue.” Recently, she’s been recruiting folks who live or work in Torrance, San Pedro, Burbank, Glendale, Santa Monica, and Hollywood, where new food donors and agencies are joining our program. Helping in our warehouse to sort and package family food boxes is always rewarding, and as gatherings become safe, we are encouraging small groups to sign up.

Volunteering is often an ideal opportunity to test drive an organization before potentially taking on a paying job, and it’s a smart way to enhance a resume. If you or someone you know is interested in Food Finders opportunities, start here, and learn more.