Food gives hope

By Andrew Kendall / Staff Writer

By Andrew Kendall / Staff Writer

It’s the magic of the holidays that can compel some individuals to give back; however, some volunteers are compelled to help all year, not just during the holidays. 

Second Harvest Food Bank volunteers in Riverside refuse to focus purely on the holidays, but rather on each day that the year has to offer.

Opening in 1980, Second Harvest was a result of a chain reaction in the Riverside and San Bernardino areas as increasing concerns about the hunger and food waste rose.

Recent statistics from the comptroller general’s office indicate that up to 27 percent of the food processed for sale in the United States is wasted and this is enough to feed millions.

According to a detailed flier about the company, “Hunger in the two county region of Southern California has been an ongoing problem since the Food Bank began operation in 1980.”

The volunteers working to fight against hunger give their hard work and dedication to Second Harvest.

“I think the fact that Second Harvest focuses more on each day of the year then just focusing on the holidays proves that there are still genuine people in the world,” said Jackie Samples, Riverside City College student.

“This was my first time volunteering here. It’s really awesome to see people come together to help other people,” Samples continued. “I think people should volunteer here because it feels good to give back to people who may be a bit less fortunate than you.”

Most people see the Food bank service as TV paints it, but this place works to try and fight hunger each day instead of random periods of time.

Donations are sometimes received from local grocery stores, but surprisingly most of the stores are donated about the holidays.

“Holiday specific items generally are donated post holiday because they didn’t sell,” said Executive Director Daryl Brock.  “We work to have donations from the industry throughout the year, but the food drives tend to focus around Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

Second Harvest Food Bank is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“Volunteers are welcome during those hours,” said Brock. “Volunteers have no time limit and can volunteer as long as their schedule allows.”

Another way that Second Harvest breaks the barriers that TV may paint of the “average food bank” is that this place isn’t a kitchen serving food.

Second Harvest is a warehouse and most volunteer jobs include organizing and sorting product.

“While they [volunteers] do help, understanding what the food bank is all about I think is more important than their actual volunteer time,” Brock said.

Second Harvest focuses on providing food assistance to not-for-profit companies serving the needy throughout Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Through the work of volunteers and generous businesses, such as grocery stores with extra food items, the entire product within the warehouse is donated by corporations.

“It really is nice knowing that there are still companies out there that work out of the kindness of their own hearts,” said Lauren Woodfield. “It makes you grateful for not only what you have, but for what you can do for other people.”

Second Harvest food bank proves that not only do their company helps focus more on each day of an individual’s life when it comes to hunger, but have a clear commitment to the Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

“Knowing that we are able to help people in a way and on such a scale is always totally amazing,” Brock said.

“Being the source of food for 250-300,000 people per month and knowing that without us they would be in more critical situations with no place to get help is the most rewarding thing we do for me,” he said.

Second Harvest Food Bank accepts food donations all year long.