Last week, a dozen RoseRyan consultants and family members sorted 14 crates of food—approximately 11,000 pounds!—at the Second Harvest Food Bank in San Jose.

As we arrived at the warehouse, we were amazed at the rows and rows of pallets with food stacked on shelves, all the way to the ceiling. Once we signed in, our tasks entailed checking expiration dates, putting food items into categories (protein, vegetables, fruit, cereal, etc.), boxing them up, labeling them and stacking them on pallets. As we went through this process, the things we learned: don’t tie the plastic bags you donate the food in, it slows down the process; if the item is past its expiration date, don’t donate it—we ended up throwing lots of food away; and items without an ingredient listing on the package aren’t accepted.

RoseRyan is proud to be a part of this community program and help fight local hunger. The Second Harvest Food Bank is one of the largest food banks in the nation, providing food to an average of a quarter million people a month. Throughout the year, volunteers contribute almost 300,000 hours of service to the food bank, saving more than $5.7 million in labor costs. Food is distributed to low-income families and the homeless from Daly City to Gilroy through shelters, pantries, soup kitchens, children’s programs, senior meal sites and residential programs.

It helps us too. As we are a dispersed workforce and don’t have much opportunity to interact with each other, the Nov. 30 activity also gave us a chance to get know each other better, build a sense of teamwork, and have fun! Some comments from those who attended: “It was one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences,” “Thanks for organizing this, I would have never tried it otherwise” and “Thank goodness for kettlebell workouts!”