Visions of carrots dance in volunteers’ heads

Usually this is a time of year for visions of sugar plums, but the RoseRyan crew at Second Harvest Food Bank had visions of carrots—and carrot recipes, like carrot ginger soup, honey-glazed carrots, carrot raisin salad and of course, carrot cake. It was the result of helping to pack more than 8,000 pounds (four tons!) of carrots during our annual volunteer event Dec. 11 at the San Jose–based food bank.

Last year, it was oranges. This year, one of our jobs was to break down 1,250-pound pallets of carrots into 25-pound boxes. Similar to last year, we constructed boxes, filled them with good carrots, weighed them to ensure they were approximately 25 pounds and stacked the boxes so they were ready to be distributed. To add a little extra fun, we competed among ourselves to see who could fill their box to exactly 25 pounds. Two of our volunteers, Sheila Manzano and Courtney Hunter, won bragging rights to this!

After packing carrots, a few of us sorted and labeled cans. This required digging through a huge box of unlabeled can goods, inspecting the code stamped on the can (for example, 42T was corn) and reconciling the code with a list identifying the contents. As accountants, reconciliations are right up our alley, so we completed this task in no time. Once we identified the can contents, we sorted and labeled them. The final task was to put them into boxes, then label and stack the boxes to be ready for distribution.

Our 13-member team effort is just a small part of the 310,000 hours that volunteers devote each year to keeping Second Harvest running, but it’s important—volunteers save the nonprofit more than $6.2 million in personnel costs. So far this year, Second Harvest has distributed 52 million pounds of nutritious food to people in need from Daly City to Gilroy. Since its inception in 1974, Second Harvest has become one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to an average of nearly a quarter of a million people each month. The organization also plays a leading role in promoting federal nutrition programs and educating families on how to make healthier food choices.

Whether it’s boxing carrots or labeling cans, we RoseRyan consultants look forward to helping Second Harvest every year, as it gives us the opportunity to catch up with each other, take a break to have some fun and make an important contribution to our community and the fight against hunger.

We wish you all the happiest of holidays!

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