In living the mission of the University of San Francisco, living, learning and social justice is part of what April Action embodies. It is a time of giving back to the community. April Action is a hands-on volunteering opportunity available to the USF community and its Alumni, organized by USF Ministry and Office of Alumni Engagement. This year we wanted to take our service beyond the walls of Gleeson.
With the help of University Ministry, your Gleeson Staff Development Committee partnered with San Francisco – Marin Food Bank for a two day volunteering event. The days that lay ahead would turn out to be both a cause of anxiety and rewarding in more ways than one.
Situated on the 900 block of Pennsylvania Ave. and 23rd St. the San Francisco – Marin Food Bank is a spacious warehouse temporarily housing produce, fruit, canned goods and various assorted healthy snacks that are distributed throughout the city of San Francisco and Marin. The friendly staff work along side thousands of volunteers to sort, pack and distribute the daily shipments that are both donated by a wide range of sources and also purchased by the food bank. Staff begin work at 3 AM, volunteers at 9 AM and work runs until 8 PM.
The Monday group, groggily filled with coffee, took to their task at hand. Monday’s items on the list were corn kernels and fruit strips; we were assigned the fruit strips. Not a strenuous task but it proved to require organization, problem-solving skills and an effective collaborating team.
On day one an estimated total of about 2,200 bags containing 24 fruit strips were sorted, bagged and tied. The snack bags would be shipped to schools to support the city’s Morning Snack Program working to provide students with healthy snacks that will help them focus on their school activities. In the short time that Gleeson’s Monday group hustled and bustled, we were able to contribute approximately 200+ bags. I’d say not too shabby for four ladies.
Before Monday could come to an end, some recon work had to be done to get a feel for what the second group would except on their afternoon shift on Tuesday. Instead of fruit strips, there was cabbage…32,256 lbs of cabbage. Group #2 did not back down at the sight of an intimidating mound of leafy greens. With sweat, tears, and hopefully no blood, Tuesday’s volunteers packed approximately 30 pallets.
April 18th and 19th marked Gleeson’s first April Action, and hopefully it will not be the last. Thank you to those who were able to join us. Thank to you University Ministry and to San Francisco-Marin Food Bank for the amazing community work that they do.
“I had a great time working at the food bank! My group was able to put our well-honed librarian skills of efficiency and organization to process hundreds of snacks for local organizations. It was great to volunteer with Gleeson coworkers who I don’t see often or don’t work beside each day. And I was really grateful for the opportunity to help my SF community for a couple of hours on a Monday. It started the week off perfectly.” – Colette
“I left the Food Bank feeling happy. We worked hard, had a good time and left knowing we had made a difference. A lot of people will have healthy food to eat because of the work we did. I will volunteer again and I plan on bringing my daughter for one of the shifts that they allow kids to participate” -Matt
“It’s always a wonderful experience volunteering at SF-Marin Food Bank. The staff are very sweet and they really care about the work they are doing. It means a lot to be able to help our community, to give back to those who need that extra help and to make a positive difference. This experience not only makes me love this city more, it has also created a stronger camaraderie among our Gleeson family.” – Fabiola