It is only fitting that even my volunteer work revolves around food!! On Thursday I participated in the FRESH Young Professional’s group “Helpie Hour” at the Houston Food Bank. FRESH, is a group comprised of young professionals whose work focuses on benefiting the Houston Food Bank. The Helpie Hour is a genius idea where volunteers spend an hour working on some activity at the Food Bank and then spend the last half eating and drinking as you would at any traditional happy hour.
One thing I loved about the Houston Food Bank is how beautiful, nice and new the Houston Food Bank facility is. It rivals any of the gourmet grocery stores in the city like Whole Foods. I imagine someone would see this facility and think the money could have been spent on other aspects of the organization such as the food. I disagree. Those in need deserve a nice place to go for services. Seeking the assistance of others is hard enough in itself, but I imagine going to gross facilities does not make it any easier. In addition, the beautiful facility seems to serve as a community center. It enables organizers to host events such as yoga or happy hours with the added bonus of gaining some volunteer hours after patrons participate in the events.
For the Helpie Hour that I attended, we sorted food through their Carousel system for the first hour. This was actually fun for a Type A person like myself. Sorting food, checking expiration dates, dodging the slow moving Carousel system. Of course you make friends with those around you which is an added bonus. They played good music as we worked so people danced and sorted. After an hour we moved back into the Texans Cafe area for subway sandwiches, barefoot wine and nothing bundt cakes. All of these organizations donated food for the volunteers.
I intend to officially join the FRESH organization in the upcoming weeks and participate in future events they host at the Houston Food Bank. Based on this one event, FRESH and the Houston Food Bank seem to offer great opportunities for others