When COVID-19 shutdown LA County, I didn’t want to stay at home. I knew that was the safest thing to do, but as a young and otherwise healthy person, I felt an obligation to be proactive and help others in any way I could. My business as a massage therapist came to a halt, and I had time on my hands. I figured that thousands of people do important work on the front lines every day, many more were struggling financially from the shutdown, and just because I wasn’t an essential worker didn’t mean that I couldn’t be involved and help out as well. I looked up a bunch of nonprofits in the city, checked out the Food Bank website, and signed up.
My first assignments were working at the drive-through distributions. They were surreal. Thousands of people in line, but everyone wearing PPE and being so safe and cautious. And the volunteers and staff working the distributions were so great. They were committed to doing the right thing for people in need.
Now I am volunteering in the Food Bank’s South LA warehouse. My job is to sort the dry foods that go into the food boxes that go out to the Food Bank’s hundreds of partner agencies or the direct distributions. I often come to the early morning shift and find that it’s a great way to start my day.
My therapist work is still pretty slow, so I still have lots of time to volunteer. When I tell people I’m going to the Food Bank, they’re surprised and say, “Oh, you’re still doing that?” Like I’m supposed to stop or something! And I tell them, as long as I can continue to do it, why would I stop? I love the environment; I love the people here, all the folks who work and volunteer for the Food Bank. We’re doing a good thing, and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon. I found a place that I love to be.
I’ve worked at other volunteer programs, and no matter what the work is, it has to click for you, whether that is the mission or the people or the work. The Food Bank is the place I like being, and I love this mission serving all sorts of families throughout the county. This has been such a great experience for me, and I would encourage anyone to sign up.
Together, we make a difference.