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Volunteer lunches: A unique way to help
Midwest Food Bank Bloomington-Normal distributes food to partner agencies almost every work day. Most of those are smaller distributions of produce or to smaller agencies. But six day each month, we have a full-day distribution, when the our agencies receive the bulk of the food they give to their clients.
On those full day distributions, a lunch is served to the volunteers. It serves as a thank you and an encouragement to stay and help with the afternoon distribution. It also offers distribution volunteers a chance to rest their feet and enjoy a time of fellowship.
Ironically, the volunteer lunch is prepared and served by ... volunteers! Some of the volunteers are church Bible study or small groups. Others are simply long-time friends. People involved in catering businesses contribute their time, too.
Lunch volunteers sign up for one day a month. The goal is simplicity - a main dish, a few sides, and dessert. The meals serve 60-90 volunteers. The volunteers who provide lunch, generally like to cook for a crowd, and see it as an opportunity to be involved with volunteer efforts at MFB.
"Volunteer lunches served with love. They offer a time to stop and check in with each other. We don't get a chance to chit chat (during distribution). This is where we take a breath," says lead volunteer Mary Litwiller. "It's cooked from the heart," adds Emily Wissmiller.
"The majority of our volunteers during distribution are often retirees or those that do not work within a traditional work environment," says Tara Ingham, Executive Director of MFB Bloomington-Normal. "Dinning together fosters connection and a sense of belonging."
We can always use more volunteer support with lunches. To learn more about it, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 309-663-5350.
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