Regional Food Bank Reaching Out To Younger Volunteers

“Volunteers are so important to ensure that we get the food that our neighbors need out and into their hands,” said Cathy Nethlen, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Regional Food Bank.

Wednesday, February 7th 2024, 6:45 pm

By: News 9, Mike Glover


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The Regional food bank is always looking for volunteers to fill boxes and backpacks for families in need. And while it is normal for church groups and organizations to support, there is currently a push for younger volunteers.

“Volunteers are so important to ensure that we get the food that our neighbors need out and into their hands,” said Cathy Nethlen, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Regional Food Bank.

Volunteer groups are always needed, but for the staff, it becomes an extra special time when the youth show up. “We are so happy to see the Central Junior High School student council come out tonight in group and volunteer, and they are going to be working on the backpack program,” said Nestlen.

The backpack program provides a backpack of nutritious food for kids who are considered food insecure. “It means that we can give more to what we have and what others have compared to what we have,” said Moore Central Junior High School student JJ Pinniy.

This is something the students can relate to. “If you were in the situation, you would want people to help you,” said Moore Central Junior High School student Gabriela Lazcano. “I think for younger volunteers to get that experience of giving back, and they are not having to pull out their wallet or ask their mom or dad or guardian for any money,” said Nestlen.

And while it is tough work, the Food Bank staff goes above and beyond to ensure a good time. “We are going to put you to work but I guarantee you, you are going to find yourself dancing in place, we play really good music, and it gets very competitive among the different groups as far as who can pack the most pallets,” said Nestlen.

Kids can start volunteering as young as eight years old, and while the fun and memories will live on, so will the lessons learned. “It is a great way to show that, there are good people in the world,” said Lazcano.

“Always give back to your community,” said Pinniy.

For information about volunteering at the Regional Food Bank visit www.regionalfoodbank.org

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