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Volunteering at the OIC Food Bank

05 May 2022, by Admin in General/ Logistics, Volunteer Relations
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Volunteer Process and Systems Overview

Gleaning isn’t the only way to volunteer at OIC of Washington. Volunteers can donate their time at the OIC Food Bank, located at 1419 Hathaway Street in Yakima, Washington. The food bank is a part of the OIC campus, so those interested in volunteering must complete a volunteer application form and background check to ensure that the vulnerable populations that OIC serves, as well as OIC staff, are protected. Both forms are easy to complete and the background check is free due to the non-profit status of OIC of Washington.

Once a volunteer has completed their application and their background check has been cleared, they are welcome to volunteer at the food bank anytime between 9am-3pm from Monday through Friday. Scheduling is very flexible and volunteers are able to serve whenever the given time frame fits their schedule.

The main volunteer duty at the OIC Food Bank is making food boxes for the twice-weekly food distribution that happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Boxed, canned, and fresh foods are organized in an assembly line fashion, and volunteers create food boxes by putting seven boxes on a pallet which is pulled by a pallet jack down the line. As the pallet jack moves, volunteers put one of each item into each of the seven boxes. Smaller items, such as raisins and juice boxes, can be added multiple times to each box. Otherwise, the standard rule is one food item in each food box.

When the pallet of seven food boxes reaches the end of the assembly line, it is returned to the beginning where seven new, empty boxes are placed on top of the existing food boxes. The process is then repeated two more times. When finished, a pallet with a total of twenty-one completed food boxes is ready to be distributed at the next food distribution event. Finished pallets are taken to the distribution area and placed with other finished boxes.

Other activities that volunteers can engage in at the food bank are the breaking down of cardboard boxes that the boxed and canned goods are stored in, unboxing food items for easy placement into food boxes, and general cleaning of the assembly line area.

Volunteers at the OIC Food Bank ensure that there are enough food boxes created for each food distribution. On average, 100-200 people come each time the food bank is open and boxes can run out quickly, so there is always a need for volunteers to create more.