Hunger is a thing no one should have to experience. When it hits you, you feel completely vulnerable and helpless. People can tend to forget that some places in the world, hunger is a normality and finding a bite to eat can be just as rare as meeting a unicorn. Statistics show that the average American eats about 1,996 pounds of food a year. Let's stop right there- nearly an actual ton of food a year is consumed! For those of you who don't know how much a ton is- it's half of an babyelephant. That's a lot of food.
I have always had a passion for helping communities around in the world. I have gone to other countries to build houses, help the homeless, and even take care of the disabled. But a personal struggle I deal with is forgetting that there are problems that occur right under my nose as well. I have to remember that I don't have to jump on a plane in order to help a community in need.
I just need to stop and think for a moment what if the community I'm living in right now, needs my help?
I was provided with that answer a few days ago. I had the opportunity to help an organization that is literally 11 minutes away from my house, and it impacted my life.
The organization is Second Harvest Food Bank.
Now, I have helped out with a lot of food banks and pantries in the past, but none of those experiences were quite like this one. Don't get me wrong- they all have a special place in my heart and no one is better than the other. It's just this particular stood out to me because mostly, I didn't know what to expect.
On Wednesday evening, I helped out with a food sort. What's a food sort?
Good question- it's when you gather a group up and they sort food that doesn't meet the strict standards of super markets or vendors. It's still edible and looks delicious- but sizing is the main issue here. Stores are looking for uniformity in their produce and sometimes they have to say "no" to even the most appealing produce. And Second Harvest helps them with that. Once the food is rejected by the supermarkets it is donated to multiple local food bank, Second Harvest being one, and then distributed to hungry families.
Hitachi Data Systems organized a team out of our Santa Clara office to go and represent HDS and sort food! One of the HDS helpers being my beautiful mother, Rose Campbell, who came to help to support the community and her daughter. Thanks mom. It's so nice to know that the HDS family and my personal family are always ready to help when help is needed.
The event started at 6pm on Wednesday July 27th and ended at 8pm that night. When I first arrived at Second Harvest, I noticed that a lot of different organizations and companies were there to support this wonderful cause. There were roughly 100 people in total in the lobby ready to help.
When we were in the lobby and the majority of the people had arrived, a speaker got to the front and shared a few statistics of the impact our efforts would have on the community.
They said that 260,000 people were being helped by Second Harvest alone and out of those 260,000 people, 70% of them are children.
They also shared with us that we were going to be put into a room that had thousands of pounds of food. The goal was to load cardboard boxes that weighed about 25lbs each and put them into groups of 30 to fit onto a pallet to be shipped.
25lbs x 30 cardboard boxes = 750lbs of food per pallet
And by the end of the two hours we were there, we completed sporting out all of the plums they had set aside for this event. 20,000lbs of plums.
Once those were done, our team moved to carrots to help out those teams who were assigned to them. We didn't complete sorting out all of the carrots, but I would say that we got 87% of the carrots sorted and onto pallets.
For two hours, that is pretty good. Just think about it- if they extended the event to include even a half hour more, we would have completed both the plums and the carrots. Easily 50,000lbs of food total that would be available to the community by the end of the event.
I know there is a lot of math already included in the blog post but be patient with me. Let's go back to the statistics I shared with you near the beginning of this post: the average American eats about 1,996 pounds of food a year. We helped a significant amount of people with those two hours.
1,996lbs / 365 days in a year= 5.46lbs of food a day
50,000lbs from Second Harvest / 5.46lbs consumed a day= about 9,158 people will get food from those two hours.
It's amazing to see how much two hours of your life can mean for someone else. I mean, what else would I have done with those two hours if I didn't go to this event? Pokemon GO? Eat? Nap?... to know that I helped contribute to feed 9,158 people in the world put a smile on my face.
That is why this event stood out to me.
Second Harvest is always in need for donations, you don't need to wait around for an event like this to happen. If you want to help out at the next food sort and volunteer, please go and find a local food bank near you.
If you are in the Santa Clara county and want more information of their location or mission, please check out their website!
There are other locations too, so be sure to check those out as well.