VISTA’s Participate In MLK Day of Service!
Adie – Food Bank of Southern Iowa
“I was at Helping Hand in Albia that day. I was there all morning, the ”pantry” part wasn’t open so I helped them sort clothes.”
Trish – Food Bank of Iowa
“I volunteered at the Volunteer Center of Story County making felt hats and scarfs.”
Claudia – HACAP
I volunteered at the Science Center here in Cedar Rapids Monday morning along with nearly a dozen Youth Achievement
Corps members from the area. We were assigned different tasks helping out around the Science Center, and I was in a group with 4 other girls who were in charge of sketching and painting a dinosaur mural on canvas. Despite most of us not being very artistic, I must say that our dinosaur turned out amazing! More volunteers came in the afternoon to paint the skeleton of the dinosaur on top of what we had painted with some type of glow in the dark/UV paint that would be invisible in normal light, but would show up under a black light. The canvas will be put on display in the Science Center so that the children that come to the center can see what a Stegosaurus looked like on both the outside, and inside. It was a fun way to be able to volunteer on MLK Day and to have a unique way to give back to the community!
Annaleah and Virginia -Food Bank for the Heartland
For MLK Day of Service, the Food Bank for the Heartland VISTAs went to Open Door Mission and helped in their kitchen. They serve about 2000 meals per day. We helped with food preparation for the evening meal. Some of us diced ham, others packed snack foods, while some others also mashed eggs. We got a workout! There were other volunteers there who helped make the time go very quickly with their good attitudes and humor.
We also volunteered at the Food Bank for the Heartland on the Wednesday immediately after MLK Day of Service. We got a taste of what it’s like to be a regular volunteer here because we did case-lotting, where we set up and filled boxes to a certain weight with certain products. In two hours, one team did 98 boxes weighing 20 pounds each of candy and the other team did 144 boxes. Some of the boxes were 15 pounders full of cookies and the others were 25 pounders of assorted canned foods. We estimate that we packaged around 4000 pounds of food for the agencies to order!
Jennifer – Riverbend Food Bank
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day I volunteered at one of our numerous food pantries. I have developed a wonderful relationship with the pantry director, as well as volunteered here in the past, and was excited to return. I was given the task of handing out frozen blueberries and instructing the clients on how much bread they could have. We had a steady crowd for the 2 hours we were open and everyone was very kind and gracious. I realized a couple of years ago when I first volunteered at a food pantry how hard it must be for the person to admit that they need assistance. I know many of them are ashamed that they have to ask for help. Today, I realized something else. Some individuals turn down the food they are given. For instance, a few people passed by the bread table today without taking any. I understand this has to take a lot of courage to refuse food that is given to them at no cost. But they are being a great blessing to others in need. The individuals that don’t take the food do so because they simply do not like it, or because they or their family members have an allergy to the product. Instead of taking the food because they feel that they should, they kindly say “no” because they know it will just go to waste in their household. I hope they understand that this simple act can help feed another hungry family. My Day of Service had a great impact on me and made my drive to help hungry people in my community even stronger.
Amy – Northeast Iowa Food Bank
I worked with a volunteer group this morning which included a family that brought in their kids to serve at the food bank. We worked on sorting and cleaning the reclamation food that came in on Friday. We completed 3 palettes before lunch time!
Liz – IFBA
For Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, I volunteered at a meal packing event for Meals from the Heartland at AIB. The goal for the day was to 18,000 meals with 350 volunteers, we exceeded the goal and over 21,000 meals were packed! Meals from the Heartland is a nonprofit volunteer based program that packages meals for hungry people both internationally and locally.
For more information on how you can participate in the Martin Luther King Day of Service, go to http://mlkday.gov/