The Greater Boston Food Bank

Tony, Renee, and I attended the Greater Boston Food Bank’s open house event yesterday morning. It was quite a moving experience to be able to see the enormity of their new distribution center and to pair that with the fact that there are so many people in need of food. It was, as one of the volunteers that day said, “… good that we can do this [build such a large facility], but sad that we have to.”

“How did you hear about this place?” Renee asked me, “How do you hear about things like this [the open house event]?”

And this is where I tried to explain to her one of the beauties of this magical thing called Twitter. (Okay, so it’s not so magical, but …) About a month ago, I saw a retweet (RT) from one of the people that I follow where the GBFB had a donor that would give them $5 for each new follower they could attract by a certain day. So naturally, I started following them and retweeted (is that even a legit word??!) so that the 97 people following me could do the same. And so on and so on … such an easy way to raise funds.

And then I had an idea for a fundraiser: I tweeted that if I (under the ShortcakeScraps ID) could reach 200 followers, Tony and I would donate $200 to GBFB. After a couple of days and lots of retweeting on my and GBFB’s part, we reached 200+ followers. Then as a GBFB follower after that, I found out about the open house event through their tweets and thought it would be the perfect way to hand-deliver our donation.

I did not take this photo (although I wish I could’ve!) – it is posted here.

Another great thing about Twitter is how I’ve met or connected with some people that I may not have ordinarily been able to (this will get a whole post dedicated to the topic soon). When we showed up to the building, Caitlin – the woman behind the tweets – was looking out for me to greet us and formally meet. We had been tweeting back and forth for a couple of weeks and it was so nice to be able to actually meet her in person. (Note: these are the times when my husband thinks I’m a local celebrity – lol!)

The open house was great! They coordinated a well-marked path for us to follow and we learned about so many aspects of the food bank. One of the most breathtaking parts of our visit was seeing the size and vastness of their storage shelves. It looked like Costco times a hundred.

We also spent some time in the food sorting area where volunteers help package up boxes according to specific groups (i.e. juice, cereals, etc.). We spoke with the volunteer coordinator about how people can stop by and help with the sorting, and she said that various groups around Boston (including Harvard) have already committed to volunteering until next spring. Nick Lachey also helped out here in October!

It was quite a scene in the sorting area and it looked like a lot of hard work. Tony and Renee were joking about how each person had two categories to look out for and fill boxes with, but that I could probably take on six. (A sign of how much of an over-achiever I can be?!) Here’s a little video of the conveyor belt and that day’s volunteers (if you can’t see it below, click on the link here):

We also got to see inside the refrigerators on the premises which were enormous. The one that (there were three) really blew us away (no pun intended!) was the freezer chamber that houses things like meat. It was ginormous and so cold inside that you could make snow!

It was also great to see the GBFB’s CEO, Catherine D’Amato, out and about the entire time we were there, mingling with visitors and answering questions. We also met Gail at the end of our tour, the woman that drives around to the every town in Eastern Massachusetts to check on things. She, and the other people we met throughout the day, really made us laugh and made me say, “I think she really loves her job.”

We left feeling very happy that we had picked a great charity to donate to, and glad that we could see where our money was going to in the end. We are going to have a food drive in our office to help the Harvard students’ drive to reach 1,000 non-perishable items, which will also benefit the GBFB.

I hope that all of you reading this post will also consider donating something – even if it’s just one can! – to your local food bank. Due to the recession, local food pantries and women’s shelters are desperately low on supplies that support their clientele, especially as we enter the colder months. By bringing in just one item each week, you will make a difference.

To see more pictures from that day, click here.

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One thought on “The Greater Boston Food Bank

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