Pro Bono: An UpdateSubmitted by S. F. Ehrlich Associates, Inc. on February 15th, 2018
February 15, 2018
By: Stanley F. Ehrlich
As an update to last newsletter's Stan's World article, I am pleased to report that our first experience working in the Farmer’s Market sponsored by the food bank* where we’ve volunteered for years was positive and fulfilling. We’ll be returning for more.
(*Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center, Morristown, NJ.)
In brief, in addition to providing daily meals (breakfast and lunch) seven days a week, and a wide variety of social services, the Community Soup Kitchen partners with a few area supermarkets to collect produce, meats, and a range of other products which are nearing their expiration dates. On Mondays and Fridays, volunteers pick up the food, sort the products, and then oversee their distribution to clients of the soup kitchen.
As the clients come down the ‘line’ moving from station to station, volunteers at each station (e.g., desserts, meats, produce) explain the foods in their bins and then hand each client one requested item (e.g., a loaf of bread, or a bag of oranges, etc.). There’s a brief exchange (i.e., “This is good, you should try it”) and then clients move on to the next station.
My first experience found me, appropriately enough, assigned to the dessert station. During my stint, one exchange with a client humanized one of the many problems faced by the homeless and those less fortunate.
As a man walked over to my station, I asked if he’d like a selection from the dessert bins. He replied: “I’d rather have a job, but I’ll take a dessert.” That’s one of the reasons the Community Soup Kitchen changed its name and added Outreach Center. Hopefully, they’ll be able to help him.
In addition to numerous opportunities to volunteer in soup kitchens, a client told us about the need for volunteers to work in animal shelters. If you like working with animals, call your local animal shelter and see if they could use a hand.