Volunteering for Change

Logan Bruss and Joe Feider

Having people in your community focused on the right things is important and in many ways, necessary. In the Arlington community, we have just that. The Arlington Food Bank serves as a haven for those in need. All spearheaded by Carla Gastineau and her group of hardworking volunteers. But, what does volunteering for the food bank really entail, how do you do it, and why is it so important? The Food Bank is run solely by community volunteers. Besides minimal government commodities, two thirds of the food comes from donations and fundraisers within our community. As we battle against this pandemic, we need every bit of help we can get. 

Now all of this begs a simple question; what does volunteering entail? Well, there are many different jobs around the food bank you could be involved in. From working in the warehouse operating heavy equipment, to sorting food, organizing packs for those in need, or doing office tasks like paper work. There’s always something to do and with the decrease of volunteers recently, they need all they help they can get. 

Volunteering at the Food Bank isn’t hard. First off, there is an age limit; you must be seventeen and above. There is a maturity aspect to working at the food bank, as unlike your average “job” people depend on you for their means of survival, but it is also an active warehouse, so there are safety protocols to follow. Running a background check is part of the process as well. Go to arlingtonfoodbank.org and fill out your online application and begin the process to volunteer. There are some opportunities during non-operating hours for those under seventeen. Please check with Gastineau for details on those opportunities. 

There are some real values tied to being a volunteer. But, it’s not something you just show up and do. Gastineau wants the people there “present with real want and passion”. Before signing up to volunteer, make sure you are there to make a difference in the community. 

Since COVID, those experiencing food insecurity in Arlington has risen from 16% to 60%. This is a drastic change in the numbers of people taking advantage of the community provided service. 

 

Gastineau remains optimistic about the Food Bank’s future. She is hopeful that volunteer numbers will start an upward trend. And then she and her staff will continue to be a positive influence around the community. The Arlington High School ASB is spear heading the efforts to buy the Food Bank a truck. This will allow the food to be taken directly to the areas where people need it. You may donate to that Food Truck project here