This past Saturday I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Honey Brook Food Pantry and help organize food. I have been to another smaller food pantry before, but this one was very well organized. We learned that people who are qualified to come, come once a month and pick out certain items as if they were shopping. There is so many options they get from personal hygiene items to fresh produce! Our job was to organize all the donated food. There was over 60 crates and boxes of food that we organized. I feel like it fit perfectly with the term "reverse shopping." We took shopping bags of food and checked the expiration date and then put them with the box it fit with best. There was a fruit box, a veggie box, a corn box, a green bean box, a soup box, a rice box, a mac and cheese box, a pasta box and so many more! It was amazing the amount of food that they had! At the end of our sorting, the person in charge showed us the front where the people shop. She said they check in with someone and then someone helps them go around and get everything. There is dairy, meats, veggies, personal hygiene, fresh produce and sometimes an extra section. This past Christmas they received toys where the parents where able to pick them out for their children. They received so much that today (the next time people come in) they get to give out even more toys.
It was such a special opportunity being able to do it next to people I knew and loved. I did it with my high school youth group who I have missed very much! We were able to have laughs and joys as we sorted through the different foods. It is amazing the kinds of food that people donate! Some things expired in 2015, most likely because people have been cleaning out and just through it in with the rest and some cans and boxes were completely dented. They had a chart that showed how long things could last for after the expiration date and it was shocking in some cases. For example a lot of cans can go 2 years after the best by date! Keep that in mind when you're donating food to a food pantry! If you're interested in volunteering at a food pantry they almost always need help. Organizing food by yourself is not easy and its much better when you have someone to talk to. By us being there we made something that could last 3 hours turn into one and a half. I suggest helping some day at your local food pantry! It will be an experience for you and possibly an eye opening one as well! I put the Honey Brook Food Pantry's website below if you're interested in checking it out :)