Philabundance

Philabundance Food Bank Warehouse – North Philadelphia  

 
  

Our first officially scheduled Wynnstay Workday was a great success!  On Saturday afternoon, January 23rd, from 12:30 to 3:30pm we went to the Philabundance Food Bank Warehouse on West Berks St in North Philly.   Philabundance is the regions largest hunger relief organization and it depends on volunteers to help distribute millions of pounds of food throughout the Delaware Valley each year.  The warehouse is the main distribution center and operates 6 days a week.  They get most of their volunteers on Saturdays and split them into morning and afternoon sessions.   At 12:30 we were greeted by Jan Barnett, the volunteer coordinator, then watched a small video on Philabundance and the hunger issue in Philadelphia.          

Next we got a tour of the warehouse and it was pretty much what I expected: huge shelves of food (canned goods, crackers, cookies, bread), gigantic bags of rice (which apparently have to be scooped into individual lunch baggies – what a task!), crates of water, and a busy team of Philabundance workers scurrying around.
 

Warehouse Shelves stocked with food

    

We were accompanied by a great team of volunteers: 5 Drexel students (a group that volunteers on a regular basis), mother and son team (have been going to Philabundance for a while), a young Penn doctor (friendly self-motivated woman who didn’t skip a beat), the Haverford Swim Team (my personal favorite – still say swimmers have the best work ethic out of any sport!), and of course the Wynnstay gang (Maura and Corey on box making duty, Dad and I filling boxes, and Mom on the scale).  Mike, the Warehouse supervisor, organized each group and kept operation running smoothly.  He had been working since 4am and was still in great spirits, smiling and laughing the whole time.
 

Wynnstay Gang with Pasta to Go

    

Haverford Swimmers building muscle to beat rival team Radnor!

    

Motivational Mike led by example

    

Our task was to box thousands of sorted canned goods, label in magic marker, weigh at the scales (keep em under 40lbs), tape up and send to the loading dock.  Each bin of food had been sorted by the morning group into categories:  Soup, Greens, N0n-greens, Fruit, Pasta, Meaty pasta, Beans and Tuna (probably forgetting a few).  We had a makeshift factory line from the box-making, down the rollers to the scales.     

Maura the Box Making Queen

    

Tom Sr and Corey loading the cans

    

Nancy at the Scale

     

Once we kicked it into gear, every volunteer worked hard for 3 straight hours.  Box after box, Spaghetti Os after Baked Beans, the whole group boxed about 27,000 lbs of food.  Warehouse Mike said that he’s never seen so many cans boxed – needless to say he was pumped.  I have to give a special shout out to my twin sis Corey who despite being 3 months pregnant, didn’t take a break making them boxes!        

Volunteering at Philabundance was fantastic, we really accomplished a great feat for the Warehouse and it’s workers.  It was amazing to witness a group of strangers working so well together.  I stepped back a few times to watch each person hustling to complete their individual tasks but doing so in a way that made the whole process flow like a fine wine.    

The whole experience really made me feel like Wynnstay has a purpose – Philadelphia needs self-motivated individuals in an effort to help those in need.  Our family has such a great attitude toward civil service and with their voices and actions we get more people involved in the community.  The icing on the cake was to write in black magic marker “Wynnstay.org” on the Wall of Fame at Philadbundance – great feeling!        

Signing Wynnstay loud and proud!