BY JACOB FIERMAN
This past weekend Cooper City High School’s Key Club lent a hand at Feeding South Florida, helping sort food and other products at the organization’s Hallandale warehouse.
The students from Cooper City High School arrived at the organization’s headquarters at about 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. Inside, the students filled out some paperwork and were then escorted into a large room filled with about one hundred and fifty other volunteers. Feeding South Florida Director of Development Anthea Pennant gave a speech on what it means to assist this very crucial organization. Many of the volunteers were from local colleges or charitable organizations. After about a thirty minute presentation, the volunteers were lead into the organization’s huge warehouse and were split into groups and assigned to stations. The stations performed different functions, such as sorting food and other donations or checking foods for expiration dates or damaged packaging.
The Key Club group was assigned the job of receiving all of the boxes assembled by the other volunteers as they arrived on a conveyer belt system, weighing the boxes, and placing the boxes into pre-assigned locations on the warehouse floor to be collected for shipping to the smaller food banks. The process started off slowly, with one or two boxes arriving on the conveyor belt each minute, and then eventually transitioned into a constant flow of about thirty boxes per minute. The workload really tested the Cooper City High students, but with a lot of sweat and hard work, they were able to unload all of the boxes for delivery.
Feeding South Florida, previously known as The Daily Bread Food Bank, is the largest food bank in the State of Florida. It collects food and other necessities and distributes them to over 700 smaller food banks located in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Their main goal is to help feed and support those who are in need of assistance, such as needy children, the working poor, people who are physically or mentally disabled, and homeless families and individuals. With the donations they have received from both individuals and large corporations, Feeding South Florida can and does help thousands of people monthly.
“The organization only uses two percent of the donations it receives for administrative expenses, while the remaining ninety-eight percent is used to buy and deliver food and other items,” Pennant said.
In order to keep its administrative costs low, Feeding South Florida relies heavily on volunteers to sort food that is purchased and donated to the needy throughout South Florida. The organization’s focus is on key values such as compassion, integrity, stewardship of resources, and dedication, which benefit various communities and individuals state-wide.
The experience was rewarding for this group of students, in that it allowed them to be a part of the delivery chain of food for the truly needy in the community.
“As a team today, we helped sort a total of 30,892 pounds of food and other products; that is called dedication and efficiency.” Volunteer Coordinator Leroy Green said.
Feeding South Florida schedules other sorting events about once a month and Key Club plans to continue trying to send student volunteers to assist in their efforts. If you are interested in helping, please contact the Cooper City High School Key Club.