WALLINGFORD — The Connecticut Food Bank is hoping to drum up more volunteer support by giving the community a chance to tour and learn about the organization at its first open house event.
The Volunteer Open House will be held Saturday from 9 a.m., to noon at the main distribution center, located at 2 Research Parkway. Prospective volunteers will learn about the organization and the variety of ways they can volunteer their services.
CEO Valarie Shultz-Wilson said the organization is looking for volunteers in all aspects of the group including food distribution, logistics, drivers, social media and marketing. Volunteers can also work in pop-up pantries, mobile foodbanks, and development offices.
“It’s the first time we’ve done something like this where we invited the community to visit the facility,” Shultz-Wilson said.
Volunteer Manager Delores Wisdom said there will be a tour and a mobile pantry set up as a live demonstration for prospective volunteers. Attendees will learn how to get involved, why they should volunteer, and will have the opportunity to register for upcoming events.
“We will have an orientation to tell people about the foodbank, what we do, how we operate and the impact volunteers have for our mission,” Wisdom said.
There are currently 6700 volunteers at the Wallingford warehouse, Bridgeport, and mobile pantries. Shultz-Wilson said the organization is searching for more volunteers as services expand and the need for the organization grows. She said the organization is adding initiatives such as the backpack program —which provides food for children to go home with on the weekend— and the growing number of mobile food pantries and pop-up pantries.
“Last week we had 450 families come to the Wallingford location,” Shultz-Wilson said. “We distributed about thirty thousand pounds of food in two hours.”
The organization has already received non-perishable food donations ahead of the holiday season and there is a need for volunteers to help with distribution. Donations from community food drives make a huge contribution as do monetary donations because every dollar donated to the food bank can purchase multiple meals.
“We certainly need dollars,” Shultz-Wilson said. “We know that one in every six kids go to bed hungry and we want to do our part to make sure that doesn’t happen.”