This content originally appeared on Lulu’s blog, and has been reposted with permission.
Rising temperatures and sunshine may have you dreaming of your summer getaway. Unfortunately, hunger doesn’t go on vacation. It persists and is a daily concern for too many. Once your back from that vacation, think about offering some of your time to help the hungry.
For example, you could volunteer at a local Food Bank. Team Lulu volunteered for a shift at ours, the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Let us show you how you can make a difference in your community!
The Food Bank’s Durham Branch serves 6 North Carolina counties and works with over 173 agencies to serve 106,990 food insecure households.
To appreciate the significance of Food Banks, you have to unpack the term “food insecure.” Location can dictate the access to healthy, fresh foods. For others, their hunger stems from financial stress. Imagine facing the difficult decision; pay the bills, fix the car, or buy groceries.
Keep in mind that 30,750 of 106,900 households served by the Durham Branch include children. That’s nearly one-third of all food insecure households this one Food Bank branch services.
No One Goes Hungry
So how does Food Bank CENC fulfill their ambitious mission to ensure “No One Goes Hungry in Central and Eastern North Carolina”?
Liz Ohrberg, the Food Bank’s assistant volunteer coordinator, explained the three main sources of donations:
- Farmers give “ugly” food that most consumers won’t buy in the grocery store. Lumpy sweet potatoes are still nutritious.
- The Food Bank participates in “Feeding America,” a program enabling food banks to swap goods with other food banks. “You have too many bananas? Great, we have too many bottles of water. Let’s trade!”
- Fundraisers and food drives like the NC State Fair’s Hunger Relief Day raise awareness and collect donations from the general public. Fun fact: This year’s Hunger Relief Day brought in 235,000 pounds of food in a single day!
Team Lulu, along with a volunteer group from Lenovo and a school group, assisted the Durham branch’s warehouse with sorting and repackaging bulk food items and non-food essential items donated from local grocery stores.
We sorted pallets of donations into categories including dry goods, canned foods, plastic and glass liquids, water, other beverages, and non-food items like cleaning and hygiene products. In assembly line style, each can and package was inspected to ensure the seal wasn’t compromised. Items that passed the test were repackaged into their corresponding category and then placed onto pallets to be distributed. Medications were set aside to be donated to local health clinics and pet supplies to animal shelters.
Another fun fact: We learned that most canned goods are safe to eat even two years after the best buy date! Dry goods aren’t quite so durable, but are still typically safe for 6 months after that date.
Three hours later and we sorted 13 pallets of approximately 9,750 pounds of food. That’s enough food saved to create 8,211 meals!
In last year, the entire Food Bank distributed an average of 64.4 million pounds of food. They’re on pace this year to distribute almost 70 million pounds of food.
Employees that were unable to attend the volunteer day still contributed to ending hunger through our company food drive. Lulu collected 86 pounds of non-perishable food items!
As a B Corp, Lulu is committed to using the power of business for good. Let’s work together to be the change we seek.
How do you support your local community? Do you volunteer at a similar Food Bank? Or do something totally different? We know you have a story, and we want you to tell that story.