Monthly Archives: April 2009

Students work to end hunger

The April project took us to America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay, the areas leading food bank, and a member of Feeding America network.  America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay services 10 counties in west central Florida.   Since they began operation in 1982, they have processed and distributed 100 million pounds of safe and nutritious surplus food to those who need it most.   Through the combined efforts with over 350 partner charities and churches, America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay currently distributes enough food in a single week to provide over 100,000 meals!

With the current economic conditions, more people than ever are in need of food banks.  Demand is up as much at 35% in some areas of the country.  The good news is that giving is up as well, and so our students were put to work as soon as they arrived at America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay sorting all of the latest donations.  We were lucky to join up with another group from Hands on Tampa (HOT) who were also answering the call to help end hunger in the Tampa Bay area.

Students answering the call to end hunger in Tampa Bay

Students answering the call to end hunger in Tampa Bay

We brough nine students and three adult volunteers who set to work organizing a pleasantly large amount of foods that needed to be sorted into manageable lots of food for ease of shopping by area agencies.

Jessica,  Scott, Andrew, Robbie, George, Fadi, Eric, Matt and Damian were eager volunteers.   And no one stopped moving from the moment we arrived.  As whenever we work at America’s Second Harvest, we began the day by watching a video on the does and don’ts of sorting food.  It’s amazing the amount of food stuff that would otherwise go to waste if it weren’t for the efforts of area food banks.

We had two new volunteers this month, Eric and Matt, who didn’t miss a beat in getting the hang of how we GET REAL Involved!  They are students at H.B. Plant High School and are working on gaining their service hours for the Bright Futures Scholarship award.

Damien, who joins us from Madison Middle School, is now an old pro, having been with us for the last two projects.  Scott, while it may appear by the photos of him that he was goofing off, was really a great asset to have on this trip, keeping us all fairly organized! Fadi, and Dave our adult volunteer provided most of the muscle for the heavy lifting.  Andrew and Robbie provided comic relief.  And all the guys seemed to LOVE throwing things into the industrial size trash cans!  Nothing like getting to break things on purpose!  (Jessica just rolled her eyes!!).

By far the greatest number of items to be sorted was salad dressing.  We were all hungry for a salad before long.  We also had some interesting food stuff from Europe, and we all wondered how the heck it got to Tampa, FL!  And we also wondered what clotted cream was!

We worked for a couple of hours, then had a mandatory break, and then got right back to it.  All in all it was a great day.   Everyone seemed to have a good time, while knowing they were making a difference.  We asked the students as we headed back from project what struck them as the most significant thing they learned. The answer:  who knew there were so many salad dressings!

To see photos of this project visit our Facebook Fan Page.


Leave a comment

Filed under Project Reports


Local student service organization’s members to serve on April 25, 2009, at America’s Second Harvest of Tampa Bay.

In recognition of Global Youth Service Day (GYSD), on Saturday, April 25, South Tampa- based student service organization GET REAL Involved! will join over three million youth worldwide by volunteering at America’s Second Harvest where they will assist in sorting surplus food to be distributed among Hillsborough County’s needy.

GET REAL Involved! is a student program that focuses on engaging Hillsborough County middle and high school students in community service.   Formed in 2006,  GET REAL Involved! was started in an effort to overcome the barriers to youth engagement in volunteerism, including “not knowing how to begin” and “lack of transportation.”

In addition to being a major initiative of the Obama Administration, in Hillsborough County as in other Florida counties community service is a key criterion for eligibility for Bright Futures Scholarships as well as for entrance to select honors programs and scholastic organizations.  Through its monthly turnkey community service trips in support of area agencies such as America’s Second Harvest, Metropolitan Ministries and others, GET REAL Involved! assists area teens in meeting their volunteer hour requirements among friends and peers via planned, organized, and chaperoned volunteer events.  Moreover, GET REAL Involved! provides an environment independent of parents where students are free to develop their own value system relative to community service.

Sponsored by the Youth Ministry of Hyde Park United Methodist Church, since its inception GET REAL Involved! has logged a total of 1,200 local service hours.  All trips are fully chaperoned by background checked adults, and all sites are screened to insure accommodation of student groups.

For GET REAL Involved!’s Saturday, April 25th Global Youth Service Day event, students will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Hyde Park United Methodist’s Magnolia Building.  From there, they will be transported as a group to America’s Second Harvest for a four hour shift.  Following the shift, students will be transported back to HPUMC’s Magnolia Building for pick up by parents.  Participation in the event is open to all area middle and high school students upon completion of the required parental permission forms, obtainable upon arrival for the event.

1 Comment

Filed under News