I was so excited to get invited to the Cleveland Foodbank for the August Bloggers Event. I haven't been a blogger that long and I still feel like a wanna-be-blogger most of the time while I continue to build a history and an audience. It was nice to be considered an actual blogger and I love the idea of giving back. Before being invited, I didn't know much about the Cleveland Foodbank. I had driven past it many times and always noticed the big, clean and beautiful sign that beams out towards the highway. I figured it's where the cans go after a canned food drive, but other than that I knew nothing about what was going on in the building beneath that sign.
We (bloggers - me and Danielle of Find Time for Fun) were given a tour and rundown by the Online Communications Coordinator, Nancy Kelsey, who filled us in on all the incredible work being done. The Cleveland Foodbank distributes more than 30 million pounds of food a year into our community. It's amazing with all the things we have in this country that hunger is an issue, but it affects an enormous amount of people in our area. One out of five of those who receive food from this organization is a child.
Upon pulling up to the building, I spotted a sea of people that stretched across the entire football field length of the building. I just so happened to be there on a day they were serving the public. The majority of the food collected by the Foodbank is distributed to agencies, churches and food pantries, but today they were more than just warehousing the food, they were giving it straight to the public.
The next few hours we spent bagging greens, yogurts and cheese and helping people get all this food back to their vehicles. It was great to be able to interact with the people being served by the organization. Everyone was excited to receive their fresh produce they had been waiting so patiently in line for. It felt amazing to help. I was covered in water from unpacking the greens that had been packed in ice, then I was sweating from trying to maneuver the carts around the packed parking lot without hitting anything, but it felt good. I couldn't have been happier to be part of this day. If you are looking for an amazing morale boost, just try volunteering for an afternoon.
One of the coolest things I got to learn about is how the Cleveland Foodbank is taking nutrition very seriously. They have nutritionist, Chris Vogliano, on staff making sure that children are getting nutritious meals with things like the BackPack for Kids program. Having recently battled thyroid cancer I realize more than ever how important nutrition is to our health. You can never start too early teaching kids about nutrition. It can go a long way towards building a healthy future. Chris has even built a community garden on the grounds! It was truly beautiful to see.
With all the ways to give back there is surely some way you can help the Cleveland Foodbank. Got a little extra time on your hands? Volunteer at the Cleveland Foodbank. Pretty slammed on time, but got a few extra bucks? Donate Funds to the Cleveland Foodbank. Broke and busy, but you have some extra food laying around? Donate food to the Cleveland Foodbank. They have created endless ways to contribute and September is Hunger Action Month so it is packed with things you can do. Giving back can even be as fun as going to Taste of the Browns.
I hope this inspires some of you to give back. Feel free to let me know how you've helped. If you need a volunteering buddy, let me know and I'll try and join you. It feels great to give back.
Learn more about the Cleveland Foodbank: