BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Each month, “WBZ Cares” highlights a worthy non-profit organization and tells the story of what that organization does for the community. This month WBZ is profiling the Greater Boston Food Bank, which is working to end hunger in Eastern Massachusetts.
It takes a village to keep the Greater Boston Food Bank up and running according to Community Engagement Manager Erin D'Loughy, “We have 24,000 volunteers that come in. Those 24,000 volunteers, they’re here six days a week. Just last year they contributed 61,000 hours to our mission and they helped us distribute five million pounds of food which will provide four million meals.”
Communications Manager Stephanie Nichols says when a volunteer first steps though the doors of the food bank, they receive extensive training in food safety, “Spotting expiration dates, dented cans, ripped cereal cartons, they also are trained into the various categories. There’s 31 categories of foods and so they have to sort them because we get boxes from food drives that just have all kinds of things in them. Separate boxes for each type of product are created, those boxes are put into our inventory and then they are made available to go out to our agencies.”
Once training is done, it's on to the very busy sorting room where volunteers form an assembly line and work to separate the donated food.
“Sort and sort and sort and break down. It’s a good aerobic workout. Definitely moving all the time,” says Tom Acevedo of Dorchester who has been volunteering at the food bank for two years. He explained how he gets so much out of the experience, “Getting out of myself, everybody’s so into their own heads and thinking about their own problems, this gives me five hours once a week to be able to think of someone else, to be helpful and to know that I am doing something good at the end of the day.”
Kelly Sajous works with all the volunteers on a daily basis. His favorite part of the job is opening peoples' eyes to the issue of hunger in Eastern Massachusetts and the food bank's efforts to eradicate it.
“I always tell them about the mission which is very important and a lot of them, that’s why they keep coming back…they love the mission and they just want to help,” Sajous stated.
WBZ NewsRadio1030's Kim Tunnicliffe Reports