This past Saturday, I volunteered at a Mobile Food Pantry organized by the Central Texas Food Bank (CTFB). Here is a little bit about my experience.

My first step was to register as a volunteer at the Central Texas Food Bank website (https://www.centraltexasfoodbank.org/). Once registered, I reviewed a calendar listing the mobile food pantry dates and locations. Since the CTFB serves 21 counties, many opportunities were listed. Volunteer spots fill up early, and people come from all over to help.

Volunteers were asked to show up by 8:30am. Food distribution was to start at 9:00am. This allowed time for a brief orientation and training. Volunteers are needed to check-in clients from their cars, direct traffic, and load food boxes into each vehicle.

I was assigned to a team of three to help distribute food. The distribution was efficient. Vehicles in groups of five were directed to drive through one of three lanes.

The driver was instructed to remain in their car and pop the trunk. We would then load a box of food (oranges, potatoes, onions, carrots, tomatoes, pinto beans, and apples), a box of precooked frozen chicken strips, and two gallons of milk into the trunk. This assembly line allowed up to 15 families to receive much-needed food in a period of 2 – 3 minutes. When the distribution ended at 1:00pm, 712 families had received food. Distribution started at about 9:15am.

Everyone who received food was grateful. I saw our community in all its fullness and diversity. There were people of all races and ethnicities. There were families with children as well as single adults. There were young adults and the elderly. I saw our neighbors who needed food. I was grateful to be able to help. I was told that additional food distributions are being planned for the months ahead.

If volunteering interests you, then this what you need to know:

1. You must register as a volunteer at the website listed above. Think about forming a team of three so that you can work together. I would love two people to join me when the next distribution is scheduled!

2. You must wear and provide your own mask. Gloves and hand sanitizer are available, but no masks.

3. Be prepared to stand the entire shift. Wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes.

4. Be prepared for the weather. Closures or delays are rare.

If you would like more info, then please contact me.

Deacon Tamara