Monday, February 04, 2008
Food Bank Fun
This past week, I heard of an emergency call for help from the Alameda County Community Food Bank. They needed volunteers to sort and box Food Drive food.
So off I went, in the rain and cold. I went in the afternoon, so I could go to the Farmer's Market in Berkeley (where I saw Derrick, Melissa, and Marc).
It wasn't as efficient as when the process-oriented food bloggers helped out at the San Francisco Food Bank (seriously, for that kind of thing, it helps when an engineer is looking at it and giving orders ;), nor was sorting through the bins nearly as much fun as about twenty people all pitching rotten oranges at the "compost" bin. (wheeee!) But we got fourteen pallets of boxes done in our afternoon shift, and made a significant dent in the Food Bank's "food that needs to be boxed up" supply.
The ACCFB's "Food Drive" containers are winery crates ('cuz they're available cheap, or are donated, and are a nice consistent size) that are taped up and filled with a variety of food. There was a real variety in the bins. Most of it was great for the boxes (tuna, peanut butter, rice, beans, canned veg), some of it got pulled out for the salvage aisles for the member agencies (finding a #10 can of tomato sauce made me find the supervisor and ask), some of the packages were damaged so we dumped the contents in a pig slop bin (those will be happy, well-fed pigs), and some of it was "WTF?". As one example - I pulled out a bag that had two partially-eaten large bags of chips in it. I appreciate the charitable impulse, but, really, WTF? Those went into the pig bin.
We also got a large number of bags of Indian groceries that looked perfectly fine but were not commercially labelled - we pulled those out for agencies, but they couldn't go in the boxes.
As an asides, my phone number is on the new church web site somewhere as some sort of emergency food contact. I get odd calls at odd times about food donations and stuff. The most recent one was "can I donate expired cans somewhere?" and my answer was "I sure wouldn't". My rule was "If I wouldn't eat it myself, or serve it to guests, I'm not fobbing it off on the poor, either." Now I know definitely that the FB will pitch expired cans. :)
Labels: food bank