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Our Evening at the Food Bank

For Princess’ 11th birthday last month she spent the evening helping to pack holiday necessity packs at the Houston Food Bank

hard at work packing boxes at the Houston Food Bank with Fisher Cares Nuts 4 Texas

Representatives from Fisher Nuts spent November 18th at Food Banks across Texas donating time, money ($40,000 to Feeding Texas) and raising awareness with their #fishercares #Nuts4Texas campaign.  As a Think Fisher Ambassador, I was invited to bring my family and participate in one of these events.  When I told the kids about it the event, and that it was on Princess’ 11th birthday, she said: “Mom, I’d love to volunteer on my birthday!”

Monkey sporting his volunteer shirt {backwards, of course}

Monkey posing in his Fisher Nuts 4 Texas Volunteer Shirt

I was floored at the size and the niceness of the Portwall location.  Huge glass windows, bright colors, warm, open spaces greeted us, and a gorgeous family style cafeteria was smack in the middle of the space we were in.  The walls were lined with pictures of volunteers, thank you letters, pictures of staff events, and eye-catching images that shared the facts and figures that show why the Food Banks are so necessary. There exists a misconception that food banks serve the homeless, and they do, but that’s the smallest portion of whom they serve.

The Houston Food Bank serves 800,000 people each year

Our first project of the evening involved packing huge bags with cabbage; these bags will go to local schools and other facilities accompanied by a nutritionist who will teach them the best ways to cook and serve the cabbage.   My kids dove into the cabbage packing, immediately immersing themselves in the task, and making friends with the other volunteers, which was a mix of adults, families with kids, and college kids.  I love that the Houston food bank encourages and WELCOMES families and kids as young as SIX to volunteer!

thank you volunteers at the houston food bank

 

it was really cold and Princess had on my coat – my hands were shaking while I was snapping this shot.

packing cabbages at the houston food bank

This looks like a picture of Monkey showing off all the cabbages he helped to pack up; it is, and it isn’t.  This is Monkey posing to show off what he helped do, and the second I turned my back he was snatching loose cabbage leaves to snack on.  He’s a mess, y’all.  A sweet child with a heart of gold, but a mess.

Monkey with Cabbage at Houston Food Bank

Our next project was packing holiday necessity packs and learning what things are considered necessities, what their greatest needs are, and that they feed schools, families, senior citizens, as well as the homeless.  Each group they feed (although they provide more than food, so saying feed isn’t quite right) has certain needs, and the foods you can give to families and seniors, you often can’t give the homeless because they don’t have such simples as can openers or even utensils.

food for thought

a list of the food bank's most needed and wanted items

 

As we packed the necessity boxes – I was struck by the little things I wouldn’t have thought about had I not been there:

  • paper towels – individually wrapped in plastic
  • toilet paper – the smaller wrapped packages; as opposed to the bulk cases – you don’t want someone to give you an open individual roll of t.p. 
  • canned tuna and salmon
  • nut butters
  • dry beans
  • canned juices
  • flip flops
  • baby wipes
  • antibacterial wipes
  • dog toys
  • cat toys
  • cans with pop tops or tabs – for the people who don’t have access to can openers or bottle openers

holiday necessity packs at the houston food bank

One of the large retailers who donates to the food bank, donated cases of these zip close canvas storage bags, and that’s what we filled with food, paper towels, toilet paper, toothbrushes, fly swatters, storage containers, and basically anything that wasn’t considered medicine – these packs will bless families in more ways than one.  They contain food, household necessities, and the storage bags they came in can be re-used over and over.

My kids packed, listened, learned, and weren’t ready for the night to end.  Before we were halfway through, they were begging to come back, bring friends, and do it again.  I loved seeing their sweet smiles, watching them as they absorbed the information, learning that the Houston Food Bank is the largest one in the country, that they also participate in Habitat for Humanity Builds, that they have family nights, theme nights, concerts, magicians, and more to encourage people to volunteer.  You can see their events calendar on their website.  The Houston Food Bank keeps less than 5 cents per every dollar donated in house – that means 95 cents of every dollar goes towards providing food and necessities to those the Food Bank serves. 

Before we wrapped up the evening; everyone pitched in to help clean up and leave the area as clean as, if not cleaner than we found it.

sweeping up at the houston food bank

The people who work at and volunteer at the Houston Food bank are passionate about what they do, and that passion is contagious, it rubs off on you – and you find yourself smiling, laughing, and wanting to work a little bit harder, a little bit longer, and I am grateful that I had this opportunity with my kids.  The kids went to school the next day and told everyone what they got to do, they raved about it, and even now, weeks later, when I’m at the school – I still get stopped by someone telling me how much that evening impacted my kids, and how much their eyes shined when they were talking about it.  We’re already planning our next family volunteer trip – you should join us!

I am so grateful to Fisher Nuts for reminding me what’s most important, and for helping me to show my children that having a servant’s heart is worth more than gold.  Thank you for supporting the brands who help make A Southern Fairytale possible.

 

 

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. What an amazing evening Rachel. I love both of your children’s kind hearts and compassion for others. You are definitely raising them right! I will be keeping this in mind for my family as well!

  2. So happy that you’re introducing them to service to others while they’re so young. What we get back is so much more than we give.

    1. He was cracking me up with the cabbage! He’s quite the clever one, he was able to pack and snack at the same time! I’m definitely adding cabbage to our meal plan!

  3. I love that you did this– esp on your daughter’s birthday! I think this is a great way to show your kids priorities and to give them a real taste for local needs. While birthday’s are special, I think it’s neat that your daughter is learning that even on your own birthday, there are other needs. You are not the only person in the world, or the most important, even if you are special and it’s okay to celebrate. If that makes sense. Thanks for sharing!

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