My experience as a volunteer at the Willow Creek Food Pantry

For the past several weekends, I have been  doing volunteer activities at a  food pantry/care center. What I do there is mainly packing, marking and moving food bags (in the back of a warehouse), for the families that come through the the doors.

Willow Creek Food Pantry & Care Center
2080 Stonington Ave.
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
http://www.willowcreek.org/carecenter

Willow Creek Care Center exterior

This is what gets packed into large paper bags

  • Cereal
  • Beans (Canned of bagged)
  • Rice
  • Tomato/ Spaghetti sauce
  • Protein  ( canned tuna)
  • Oatmeal or Grits
  • Vegetables
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pasta
  • Jelly
  • Fruit (canned)
  • Boxes of tissues
  • Rolls of toilet Paper
  • Pouches of mashed potato
  •  Specials ( coffee, crackers, mints and other things)
On a few occasions I’ve seen the team be accommodating to clients who have allergies, and other special needs.
Recently, aside from packing the bags
There is also a Bread room here. I find it Interesting to be in the Bread room of the pantry because a good variety of baked items to work with…
  • White Bread
  • Whole Wheat Bread
  • Whole Wheat (w/honey)
  • Raisin bread
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Baguettes (French bread)
  • Muffins
  • Bagels
  • Burger and Hot Dog buns
The volunteer(s) that get to work this room have a little more flexibility in choosing what goods go into the bag. The only two guidelines I was ever given while in here were, we try to give the clients  as much variety as possible. All the thile staying within a quantity limit.
 There is a (frozen) meat station to work at. I’ve seen chicken, ground beef, Roasts, Ribs Burger meat patties, and sausages. There is also a produce station, where you handle fresh fruits  and Vegetables. Working either of these stations means that you will venture into the walk-in refrigerator and walk-in freezer from time to time to get items for the bags. Either would be a nice station to work at when it’s hot outside, haha.
Recently, I’ve been handling the station I like to call “Box breakdown”.
This is a station for those who like to flatten empty boxes and cardboard containers of different kinds. Here will use your hands and/or feet to flatten out items, load them into a large bin that gets moved into the next room, to be compacted. This station is for those with lots of energy because you will get a lot of items to work on in a single shift. Knowing how to handle a box cutter will help things go faster as well. I also like to do item restocking for the bag packing stations.  The Food Pantry saves some boxes to be reused for storage. We also recycle paper and plastic.
  • Chiquita Banana  (tops and bottoms)
  • Peapod boxes
  • Greater Chicago Food Depository Salvage Boxes
The Weekend volunteer team leaders are a wonderful lot
Norm (Saturday)
Gina (Saturday)
Jon (Saturday)
Gerry (Sunday)
Bob (Sunday)
Even though they are just a busy as any other volunteer, they are always willing to take time to help you look for something  or answer a few questions.
We usually start with a team meeting and a prayer, before serving the guests/clients.
The Sunday team is currently looking for additional volunteers and any bi-lingual persons would be a great help for our Spanish speaking clients.
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2 Comments on “My experience as a volunteer at the Willow Creek Food Pantry”

  1. […] My experience as a volunteer at the Willow Creek Food Pantry (via Tonyx35's Online Notebook) Posted on August 20, 2011 by karensMIcottage For the past several weekends, I have been  doing volunteer activities at a  food pantry/care center. What I do there is mainly packing, marking and moving food bags (in the back of a warehouse), for the families that come through the the doors. Willow Creek Food Pantry & Care Center 2080 Stonington Ave. Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 http://www.willowcreek.org/foodpantry

  2. […] See the original post here: My experience as a volunteer at the Willow Creek Food Pantry … […]


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