This week, we’ve asked our staff who utilize volunteers daily to write a small post about why volunteers are so important to the Food Bank and to their program. From Fred Conrad and the Community Gardens team:
This time of year is always one of the busiest for us--it's time for ACFB’s Community Gardens project to help plant and maintain more than 150 gardens across metro Atlanta.
The Food Bank has a WIC Garden where we grow healthy produce to be distributed to women with infants and young children. With only two ACFB staffers leading the Gardens project, and a garden with multiple plots, we rely on volunteers to help us keep up with the pace. It's always fantastic to have dedicated, motivated volunteers who like to help us out in the garden--even in the hottest of summers.
Another big part of our job is to help other community gardens in the communities we serve. Many of the community gardeners we work with are elderly, but can handle the day-to-day chores of planting, maintaining and harvesting a vegetable garden. Sometimes, there is a need to bring in some muscle power for the big jobs like moving soil or clearing fences, and ACFB volunteers always come through for us. The community gardeners always appreciate our help to get their gardens looking good for ribbon cuttings and other special events.
Sometimes our volunteers go above and beyond. We received a request from a gardener at the Mableton Boys & Girls Club to assist with building a fence around their community garden. They were having trouble with rabbits. The garden club was facing ruin, but did not have the funds for the materials needed to build the fence. One of our community garden volunteers, Jay Singh from Deloitte Consulting, stepped up and took on the project. They secured the funds, organized a work party and built the whole fence in one day! It's a wood and wire fence and makes the whole garden look fantastic. It's these things that our communities, and we at the Food Bank, really appreciate.
Thank you volunteers!
Editor’s Note: WIC is the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children that provides federal grants to to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. (Source - USDA).