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What it’s Like to Volunteer at a Food Bank Partner Agency

What it’s Like to Volunteer at a Food Bank Partner Agency

The Food Bank offers many ways to volunteer, including at one of our more than 600 partner agencies

Volunteers are an essential part of the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank’s mission to fight hunger in Los Angeles County, reducing the overall cost of the Food Bank’s work, and contributing to very high levels of efficiency. The Food Bank’s Partner Agency Network of more than 600 nonprofit organizations is also a crucial part of the Food Bank’s efforts to maximize its reach in the 4,753 square miles that make up our County. 

In 2022, nearly 17,000 individuals chose to volunteer at the Food Bank. With just three hours of their day, volunteers helped the Food Bank glean, sort, pack or distribute food to individuals and families in need. Volunteer opportunities are available at the Food Bank’s South Los Angeles warehouse, the new City of Industry warehouse, or at one of its partner agencies.

The following volunteers tell us why they chose to volunteer at their respective partner agencies.

A Token of Gratitude Through Volunteering

Like many other individuals in LA County, Joed Torres found himself struggling and didn’t know where his next meal would come from. Accepting his reality of being food insecure, Torres went to a ministry in West Covina in search of help, but they later referred him to Newlife Church, a Food Bank partner agency.

There, he received food from the food pantry, and support from his peers. However, he didn’t want to just accept what was given to him and walk away, he wanted to give back to the church and its community by becoming a volunteer.

Now in a better situation, Torres wants to help others. He understands the stigma and the pride that prevents many people from asking for help, and he wants to change that in any way he can and help as many individuals as possible.

“When it comes to food, it doesn’t discriminate – everybody gets hungry,” Torres said. “I understand what it’s like to not want to come to a place asking for help, it’s difficult for a lot of people.

“There’s no reason for anybody to be hungry,” he added.

Volunteering has been Juan Pablo’s Saving Grace

One of the volunteers who regularly shows up to help at Bread of Life, a Food Bank partner agency, is Juan Pablo Garcia. Juan has been a member of Bread of Life for the last 15 years. He first came to the church for help when he struggled with drugs, alcohol, and mental health problems. The church and its community have been his saving grace and it is rewarding for Juan to be able to give back where he can.

“I see a lot of need. We wish we can help everyone but we [still] help a lot of people. Please don’t stop helping or don’t doubt that we help people. We help families, kids, disabled people – if you can please donate, we need all the help so we can help all the people.”

A Rewarding Experience

Linh Chong began attending the Newlife Church weekly food pantry with her elderly parents, who did not have the means to get there on their own. She also heard stories from residents in their senior living community about how much the food pantry helped them get by.

Filled with gratitude, Chong decided to volunteer her time to help out at the weekly food pantry, in addition to her full-time job at a local grocery store. Both at the distribution and at her workplace, Chong hears on a daily basis the stories of individuals struggling to purchase food and everyday essentials due to their rising costs.

“Here, at the food bank, it has helped [people] so much,” Chong said. Adding, “Volunteering – some people think it’s easy, but it is so rewarding. And if you can, find a way to help.”

Whether you choose to volunteer or support the Food Bank financially, your donation goes a long way to helping individuals and families in need in Los Angeles County. To learn more about volunteering, please visit our Volunteer page, or donate here.

Get Involved

Consider donating your time at the Food Bank, and help your neighbors in need. Together, #WeFeedLA.

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