School’s out and area youth are finding ways to socialize and help out their communities at the same time.
“United Food Bank depends on volunteers and during the summer months, especially, area students become the backbone of our volunteer efforts as many of our older volunteers leave town to escape the heat,” said Dave Richins, United Food Bank president and CEO.
“Young people can make a real impact in just a few hours of volunteering to sort and pack food that goes out to our 165 partner agencies, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and more,” he added.
Volunteer shifts are available for during the day and several evenings throughout the week. Children ages 5 to 15 can volunteer if accompanied by an adult. Ages 16 to 17 can volunteer independently with a signed waiver by a parent or guardian.
“We welcome families who want to volunteer together, as well as youth groups of all kinds,” added Richins.
About 20 members of Mesa’s 5th Ward Youth Group and other local teens volunteered on a recent Wednesday night, building 840 emergency food bags – enough food to provide 9,100 meals for people in the region who need food assistance.
“A part of Notre Dame (Preparatory) is that we do student leadership, and you have to have a passing grade in it to move on to the next grade. And also as (part of) my faith, I come here to volunteer to help others,” said Ava Sunkel, 14. “I really like helping people and that’s why I volunteer.”
United Food Bank’s Volunteer Center is located at 358 E. Javelina in Mesa. To sign up for a volunteer shift, visit unitedfoodbank.org/volunteer.
Grace Bishara is the corporate engagement & volunteerism manager at United Food Bank.