By Sara Ferguson, Pantry Volunteer
At a recent early shift on a Saturday at the South Bay Food Pantry, I lift my gaze from bagging fruits and vegetables and experience a moment of bliss. I am surrounded by a vital, purposeful community of clients and volunteers pulling together to make food available to hundreds of their neighbors. The volunteers and clients around me are doing so much more than bagging produce. They tell jokes and stories. One client jogs around the parking lot to increase his fitness. Another plays jazz on his car radio. Several clients stop by to chat and admire the vegetables. I love that I am in a place where people can express all their humanity and good cheer.
I arrive most Saturdays at the Food Pantry around 7:15 AM. Dozens of clients are already lined up to collect a distribution number at 9:00 AM, and many others wait for me to unlock the doors and receive the Feeding San Diego delivery truck which drops off produce, bread, dry goods, rescued groceries and Starbucks treats. Volunteers carry pallets and boxes, set up canopies and tables, sort rescued groceries, bag Starbucks treats and produce, and arrange bread and other tables for distribution.
On this recent Saturday, I work with the other volunteers to bag produce. Our goal is to create 325 bags for distribution at 11:00 AM, and we work like a well-oiled machine. Three apples, four onions, then stack the bags at the next station for three tomatoes and six small avocados. The volunteers around me use English and Spanish, and I listen to catch the few words of Spanish that I can understand, smiling gratefully when someone translates for me, but content to count onions and watch the friendly, efficient progress.
If you’d like to volunteer or donate to the pantry, contact information and a detailed list of opportunities can be found here. Please join us!
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