Volunteering at the City of Fresno Area Food Bank

I had the opportunity for volunteering at the City of Fresno Area Food Bank this semester with some of my fellow Humanics scholars (due to our absence at the retreat). It was an awesome experience!

Along with a local church group, we were required to either pack tomato sauces, pack plums, or pack backpacks. Teamwork was key in all sections since we would all be working together to achieve the same goals. I, along with the other Humanics scholars, started off with the tomato sauces.

We each grabbed a bag of tomato sauce from one box and moved it to another. We did the separately for a while until I noticed that as we got lower into the box or the tomato sauces were further away, we started to really utilize our teamwork skills.

Sure, we were all doing the same thing to meet the same objectives, but when we started passing the tomato sauces to one another so that we don’t each individually move as much, that’s when I realized that THIS was teamwork!

We even switched off roles when one person’s back started to ache, it was great! Even when we started packing plums, some people picked and packed while the others tied the bags and put them away. The best teamwork was the backpack packing. There were also people I knew from the Big Fresno Fair Educational program and they were just as enthusiastic as I was.

There were MANY things that had to go into the backpacks, and each person was stationed with a certain item to put into the backpack. Not only that, but the items were also put in methodically so that we got the most of out of the space available in the backpack. We had HUNDREDS of backpacks finished and ready to be sent out!

It just goes to show that teamwork really goes a long way. While an individual may make a difference, it is in numbers where we are really able to see the effectiveness of practicing teamwork. Not only were we able to finish all three stations, but we were also able to leave with a sense of great accomplishment and pride in our success. It was a great feeling and a definitely fun experience that I wouldn’t mind doing again!  Special thanks to Aaron Tucker for allowing us to participate in this wonderful volunteer opportunity!

Online volunteering… Easier than you think!
After looking on Volunteermatch.com, I thought it would be interesting to do “on-line” service.  After going through a lot of options, I found Nature Abounds.  I found a lot about the organization and found out that my hometown was one area looking for volunteers. Students from the ACEL Charter School, which recently won a great award for their civics programs, pointed me in this direction.

Nature Abounds wants volunteers to record what is going on around them in their communities.  Whether it be a park, a beach, or your backyard, Nature Abounds wants to record data on the changes in the wildlife area.

This could range from the weather or the trees to the animals around.  Since one of the areas requesting volunteers was in Oceanside (right near my hometown Carlsbad), I decided this would be my best match. I went to Trestles Beach in San Clemente and recorded my observations for about an hour and a half.

I was actually surprised to see so many different things when I’m concentrating on my surroundings.  I noticed the winds blowing offshore, how there was a fog bank 2 miles offshore, and the many different wildlife that constantly surrounds the area.  I went home and typed up my findings. This is all about Quality of Life programs, a wonderful local initiative that has a lot of following as you can read in this post.

A week later, I went back to the same spot at the same time of day for about an hour.  I was surprised to see the wind was blowing on-shore. The weather was overcast.  I went home and again typed up my results.  I emailed my notes to Nature Abounds to record.  I felt great that I was able to help this organization by going to a local beach and simply observing.

When I got the email from Nature Abounds regarding how they wanted results, they stated a lot of people submit their notes multiple times a year, but you can submit notes whenever.  I felt really rewarded by giving time to this organization and that my service was going towards research of the environment.

I plan to continue volunteering for this organization and record observations at the same location throughout the year whenever I go home. This was a truly rewarding experience.  More people should be aware of online volunteering and that they don’t need to travel far to volunteer.