Oregon Food Bank

It’s hard to tell that food waste and hunger is an issue especially if you never experienced having to use food stamps, lack of access to food and being unable to afford food. In every community, there are families that struggles to pay bills, struggle to get an education, struggle to get food and struggles to keep everyone well fed and healthy due to low income, lack of accessibility, the affordability, and lack of support because they simply don’t have the “money” or “privilege”. The Oregon Food Bank, a local organization strives to end hunger and food waste in the world but they also strive to make food more accessible to those who need and can’t afford it; one community at a time.

When I first started volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank, I wasn’t sure what to expect and what I would learn besides how to garden and how to package food. I wasn’t aware that world hunger and food waste was an actual issue because I personally never experienced it myself due to being born into a middle-class family who can afford and access food whenever; it felt like it was unlimited for me and that I would never have to worry about being hungry compared to others. As I became a regular volunteer at the organization, I started to become familiar with the types of people who lives in my community that struggles to afford or even access food and relies on programs like the Oregon Food Bank and food stamps just to get by for the day. Through interaction within the food repackaging program I learned that the Oregon Food Bank isn’t just solely focused on world hunger and food waste but the politics and laws regarding it; they want to spread awareness while making affordability and access more fair to all the income classes and are taking action starting from schools to community programs such as reduced lunch for students with families below, near or at the poverty line.

I can’t express how valuable and important this course is for any individual due to the idea that you’re required to go out and volunteer at organizations that aims for social change. The experience you receive, as boring or tedious as it sounds to volunteer is, is something you’ll take with you for life; it’ll enlighten you, change you and even motivate you to do more. This course offers the opportunity and time to go out to these organizations and volunteer rather than making it another assignment to pile up with others, in fact, it allows you to interact with your classmates and professors more than other classes because of discussions that allows you to talk about what you did and receive feedback from other classmates. As someone who was completely blinded to the issues around me, this course helped open my eyes and allowed me to be more aware of what’s going on around me and the opportunity to be part of a social change, the opportunity to get involved.

This course is entirely an online class and the assignments allows more reflection as an individual which I personally found beneficial because it allowed one to see what one did and if they could improve or learn something from an experience that they would never think twice of after leaving the program. You’ll get feedback from both the professor and your classmates that it’ll turn into a normal interaction rather than just another assignment, learning more about others and yourself while in the process. This course is definitely worth taking and I would recommend any student who’s beginning their upper division cluster to take this class not only because it’s beneficial, a graduation requirement or even “easy” but because it’s also fun and enlightening in more ways than one for yourself as an individual.

Oregon Food Bank Regular

Volunteering at the Oregon Food Bank is not only rewarding for the community but oneself as well. Coming here, I originally thought I would be just doing another assignment for my course at Portland State University. Frankly, it’s probably not the first choice for anyone who aims to make a social change, in fact, for anyone who needed the hours would probably be one of the few that shows up. I originally attended for the hours because it was difficult for me to work around my current work and class schedule. Little did I know I would end up loving volunteering here and found myself wanting to continue my volunteering.

Particularly, I participated in both the Gardening and Food Repackaging programs and fell in love volunteering there because of being able to work within a interactive community and slowly taking the first steps to making a social change. What I have done here, activities wise, may not seem like much to others but here at the Oregon Food Bank, every hand counts and that was a fact that I learned when I soon discovered how understaffed this organization was.
The Oregon Food Bank relies on volunteers to come in to help grow food in the garden (Fruits and veggies), package these food and distribute them to other organizations who will take the responsibility to give it to those who need it. To see and understand how the number of volunteers that come in greatly varied, I soon came to learn that the Oregon Food Bank couldn’t get much work done and tasks fall behind schedule. By this, I mean during my personal volunteering experience, it was to my knowledge that there were food left from months back to be repackage because there wasn’t enough volunteers to do so then.
Instead of coming here and volunteering, I wanted to do something more for the community and that included ways to bring the community in together. Find out what makes people want to come in to volunteer that’s not just for an assignment but for the better good. I actively encourage people to come back or ask friends to come volunteering with me when possible even to the point of coming in without being in a course requirement.
This class, although had focused solely on social change opened up opportunities for me to try new things, gave me the time, and gave me multiple paths to choose from. If anyone who likes to volunteer or be active in this community, this course is something I would recommend to anyone because it’s entirely flexible around your schedule, you can choose where to volunteer and when to volunteer, and it’s overall interactive both with the professor and class. You can get help from anyone, advice, and even ideas. This isn’t a class to get lecture about making a change, it’s a course that allows you to take that first step. This is how I felt when I first came into the course, choose my organization and began volunteering. Not only did I end up enjoying where I had chose, I ended up staying as a regular as well.
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