Let's begin: Here's the Houston Food Bank on the morning of October 18, 2020.
The Shaw-Zettner family takes turns filling out their volunteer paperwork before group orientation; part of their day as Houston Food Bank volunteers.
Zachary Sutton stands facing a digital temperature reader. Houston Food Bank volunteers must first do temperature checks before further entry into the building. This is the first step in part of focused efforts to ensure the safety of volunteers and staff.
Nicole Barrett takes a turn washing her hands as she and other volunteers safely prepare for their day. Sinks are marked to help maintain social distance. Numerous hand sanitizer stations have been added, in addition to ones already in use. Volunteers also take gloves with them to further maintain safety protocols.
Joshua Moore in the blue shirt joyfully and actively greets volunteers with humor while explaining the safety requirements and activities they will engage at The Houston Food Bank.
Volunteers listen to an area-specific orientation for “Scan-a-Can.” This is part of a reclamation project whereby former grocery store items are sorted and marked for either charitable distribution to communities or as a last resort, the junk pile. This effort reduces waste while also creating a conduit for nutrition to underserved regions.
Luis Liera takes completed “Scan-a-Can” boxes from the roller line and packs them carefully on to a pallet. Once loaded, the pallet will be shrink-wrapped and readied for distribution to underserved regions and others in need.
Cathy White volunteers in the “Backpack” area, packing cereal into a bag. Each volunteer station packs items that will be distributed to children.
Nicole Barrett assembles a Senior Box. Each box will hold canned fruits and vegetables, as well as dry food items.
Debbie Sohmer, a volunteer, holds armfulls of half-gallon milk cartons in preparation for delivery to the next car in line at the West Houston Assistance Ministries on October 30.
Volunteers mark vehicles to identify individuals or families with a variety of unique needs. In addition to specialty food items such as gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan, and vegetarian options, items such as diapers for both children and adults can also be obtained. And, of course, pets are recognized as part of the family, at West Houston Assistance Ministries on October 30.