Volunteer Highlights

Volunteering: The Essence of Life

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.

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Volunteer Rick Guilfoile Blog Featured ImageVolunteer Highlights

Meet Volunteer Rick Guilfoile

Rick is a local elementary school teacher who recently got involved with Food Finders after a friend recommended us as a way to help the community. Since Rick is off work for summer, it seemed like an opportune time to start.

Rick helps do food rescues about 3 to 4 times a week using the Food Finders app, which lets him know where the pick-up location is and where the delivery location is, along with a map that is linked to GPS so it’s easy to find the locations. If issues pop up, he knows our staff are available to troubleshoot, so the whole process is simple and streamlined.

Food pick-ups vary in type and size–sometimes it could be a small amount, like from a bakery or coffee shop and other times it might be multiple boxes of items from grocery stores. Rick shared, “The first time I picked up a bag of pastry items, I was thinking that it would be disappointing to the recipients to get ‘just’ one bag of food. But, the gratitude and thankfulness that they showed was humbling. I realized that I didn’t have to worry about my next meal and that I really haven’t gone ‘hungry’ in …. well, maybe never. On the other hand, a lot of people are hungry. And they are right in front of me.”

Since helping out with Food Finders, Rick has learned that personal awareness of individual’s food waste will make a big difference in the overall issue in our landfills, and that it really takes multiple sources, like food banks, community centers, and groups like Food Finders to get excess food to needy people in our communities.

He sees the value in volunteering, saying, “Even with a limited amount of free time, you can do something to help others. Sure, you can donate money to charities, but you also can give your time, which is even more rewarding. The pandemic is having a dire effect on basic needs, including food. Let’s all do what we can to make our society a more equitable and livable one, now more than ever.”

Thanks, Rick, for being one of many dedicated Food Heroes that have stepped up during this uncertain, challenging time to help out. We appreciate you and all of our volunteers who are making sure Food Finders can continue our much-needed program.

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Helpful Honda Team Making Family BoxesVolunteer Highlights

We Spent a Day with the Helpful Honda Team

The SoCal Honda Dealers Helpful Honda Team were in the wareHOUSE! Right now, thousands of families across SoCal are struggling to put a meal on the table and feed their loved ones. So, the Helpful Honda Team and Food Finders joined forces this past Wednesday to sort and pack family meal boxes, and thanks to their help, 165 family boxes were sent to our partner agencies that assist food-insecure families around SoCal.

We interviewed their group leader, Zuli, about the team’s purpose and what they hope to accomplish. “Our sole mission is to be helpful to the community,” Zuli said, “… and what I enjoy most about the Helpful Honda Team is that we are always helping them in whatever way we can, wherever we can.”

Thank you, Helpful Honda Team, including Zuli, Gabby, Carolina, and Christian, for helping us achieve our mission to reduce hunger. You guys are amazing and truly do walk the walk.

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Support Food Finders and Give #MoreThanJustFood

Your support of Food Finders provides more than just food- it provides time spent cooking together, reconnecting with friends or family, creating a long-lasting memory, tradition and much more. Make a donation this December and provide someone in need with #MoreThanJustFood.