Volunteering at The Food Group
In early June we had the opportunity to send 16 of our team member to The Food Group in New Hope, MN to volunteer!
About The Food Group
The Food Group’s Mission
FIGHTING HUNGER. NOURISHING OUR COMMUNITY.
Our work is guided by these values:
- Food is a basic right for all individuals.
- Everyone deserves access to healthy food, where they live, that they can get to.
- Everyone deserves access to foods that are familiar to them and fit their cultural and dietary needs.
- Working collaboratively with other community organizations drives our mutual success.
- Operating in a way that supports equity, sustainability and fairness to all builds stronger communities.
What The Food Group Does:
For more than 40 years The Food Group has worked to provide good foods to those who need it most in our community. We focus on local food access, equity, and nutrition issues related to food and hunger in more than 32 counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin.
The Food Group works on both ends of the food system from production to distribution. Working towards building a better local food system for all, we focus on breaking down barriers to growing good food locally and breaking down barriers to getting good food to those who need it most. Our programs include:
Food Shelf Support – We partner with 170 food shelves and meal programs to offer distribution of donated food, bulk purchasing (supplements the variety and quantity of donated food they receive), TEFAP food distribution (a government commodities program), nutrition education and resources, capacity building support, and culturally equitable food and resources.
Fare For All – We operate a traveling nutritious grocery store, which makes monthly stops at 37 distribution sites across the Twin Cities and greater MN to offer fresh produce and quality meats. We break down barriers for families seeking to stretch their food purchasing power and achieve self-sufficiency by offering discounts up to 30 percent off retail prices.
Big River Farms – Our newly acquired programming offers organic and sustainable agriculture education for local immigrant and historically underserved farmers. It also creates market opportunities for the participating farmers (via a CSA, farmer’s markets, and wholesale markets), provides educational programming on sustainable agriculture to children and community members, and hosts an annual Emerging Farmers Conference.
Our Volunteer Experience
We arrived on a sunny morning in June and were greeted by Volunteer Coordinator, Dan. Dan took the time to tell us more about The Food Group and their incredible mission. We then washed up, popped on our hairnets and headed out into the warehouse.We were greeted by a pallet full of 50 pound bags of black beans. It was our job to repackage the beans from 50 pound bags into 1 pound bags. That entailed a full assembly line with several steps to ensure accurate packs. First, one member of our team was responsible for putting a label on the 1 pound bags. From there, the next person was responsible for scooping out between 16 and 17 ounces. We had a fun little contest to see if anyone could get an exact 16 ounce scoop on the first try. It’s harder than it sounds! The difference between 16.00 and 16.05 was about 4 beans! After the beans were scooped, the next team member rolled over the top and heat sealed the bags shut. Lastly, the bags were stack 5 by 5 and then packed into boxes to be distributed to The Food Group’s many partners.After we completed the bean project in record time, we cleaned up our stations and headed over to a new project, labeling corn.There, we simply taped labels to cans of corn and then packed them into boxes to be sent out to their partners. All together, we packed just under 2,000 pounds of food! Overall, we had an amazing experience at The Food Group and highly recommend their volunteer experiences. We had a great day of team building activity while making an impact in our community.