Rachel Tucker, Franklin Academy

Rachel Tucker is Franklin Academy High School‘s National Honor Society President. She reflects on her experience volunteering at the Food Bank alongside her peers.

Thanks to the recommendation of my Community Service Coordinator, Sara Allen, I and the members of Franklin Academy’s National Honor Society (NHS) had the extreme pleasure of spending three mornings and two afternoons volunteering with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.

Franklin Academy volunteers

We came because we wanted to have a lasting effect on society as a whole. Hunger is a problem that everyone is aware of but few individuals have the opportunity to analyze in person. Putting ourselves face-to-face with the people and the tasks associated with knocking out hunger was not only new to us, but an unforgettable experience. We now know what happens behind the scenes when grocery stores donate food, how the food gets sorted, what is safe food, and where it goes once it leaves the Food Bank.

Shortly after our first volunteer session, we were tired yet energetic because working as a collective team for a common goal while actually making a difference gives you a mental and emotional high. We were enthused and thrilled to learn the numbers and math associated with our experience. We sorted through thousands of pounds of potatoes, resulting in 6,786 pounds of potatoes bagged into family-sized portions, representing 5,717 meals. I had no idea that only three hours of sorting would be able to push so many families towards food security.

Franklin Academy volunteers sorting potatoes

Afterwards, I discussed our volunteer experience with the dozens of NHS members that volunteered and all of them had similar feedback: it was an incredible experience that actually taught us how little actions can accumulate and all of the efforts are put together to build steps towards positive change.

Hopefully in the future, NHS can continue to participate in this form of volunteering while still branching out to food drives, donation centers, homeless shelters, and other big organizations like the Food Bank. The more we can contribute, the better.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Food Bank’s mission, making tangible contributions to our communities every day. In fiscal year 2015-2016, Food Bank volunteers gave a recording breaking 241,183 hours of their time. This is equivalent to 116 full-time employees — literally doubling the size of our staff! Learn more about volunteering with the Food Bank.