Over the past month, I have begun to volunteer at the Lowcountry Foodbank of North Charleston a couple times a week. Truthfully, I only chose to volunteer for this non-profit organization after contacting several other locations involved in animal rescue/ the environmental cleanup, which is what I am truly passionate about, and ended up with a lack of response from any of them. However, I felt I needed to give back to the community in some way, while simultaneously building my resume, so Lowcountry Foodbank it was.
The first day I showed up, I was less than optimistic. I figured I would just be doing mind numbing busy work, cleaning or organizing, while the employees did the important work. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Upon arrival, I was rushed right to the back of their huge warehouse and was immediately taught how to organize large bins of food into different categories, sorted into smaller bins. These smaller bins were then taken and boxed separately, before being sent out to Foodbanks around the area that individuals, who cannot afford to grocery shop for themselves or their families, can visit.
As if this was not enough of a good cause, I began to learn more about where all of the donated food came from the more time I spent in the warehouse. I found out that most of the food that comes into the Lowcountry Foodbank is actually donated from grocery stores once they hit the “Best Sold By “date. It turns out that most of these foods and beverages grocery stores would be forced to throw out are actually good 6 months to a whole year after this printed date, which absolutely blew my mind. Can you imagine all of the waste created by these products and their packaging in areas, which do not have organizations like the Foodbank?
Another thing I noticed during my time at the Foodbank was how conscious they are of waste produced in their own facility. Instead of using plastic bags, or continuing to purchase moving boxes in order to transport the donated food, they actually also ask grocery stores to also give them the boxes in which bananas are transported to their stores in. These boxes are used hundreds of time until they are literally falling apart at the Foodbank, cutting down an unfathomable amount of waste.
All in all, this may not have been the volunteer experience I had been vying for, but working there has really opened my eyes to how any company, business, charity, etc. can help the environment in the smallest of ways, such as recycling banana boxes, in order to reduce their environmental footprint on this Earth.