Just before 7 this evening, the library was closed, the building was closed, and only a single door directly to the food bank in the back of the building was open. But six volunteers recruited by PCC found us. There were some regulars who’d been packing every other month for longer than the two staff members, and there were a couple newbies, and even a ten-year-old who was there “to help feed people.” FamilyWorks food bank employee Jesse, known affectionately to some of us as Bubbles after he helped clean up a rather large spill of bubble soap, had already set up a line of metal carts, each with a large plastic bin, a pile of clean plastic bags, twist ties, and food labels. Richard, a long-time veteran who used to pack food in Fremont in the 1980s and has been a regular at FamilyWorks for close to a decade, began moving food from 25-pound bags on a pallet to our bins. And we began packing. One food label in the bag first, two to three scoops of black beans, then a twist tie and into the crate goes a bag. We also discussed everything from the labor movement in San Diego to recently-read library books to P-Patches to community playgrounds. We were a diverse bunch, all there for a couple hours with a common purpose, and it was inspiring to see how much we all accomplished. RIchard shared with me that we were a lean bunch of volunteers; frequently we actually have more than a dozen. On those nights, Richard and another volunteer will continuously fill bins and move the food, while others pack, and others stuff labels. Tonight, we all pitched in and did a little bit of everything. Over and over and over – until we had packed over 1100 pounds of black beans, blueberries and cream granola, brown rice, rolled oats, and cous cous! All in all, it totaled 32 crates worth of staples for our families. By 9:15 PM, the food bank was empty of all but Jesse closing up, and no one would have known just how much scooping had been occurring a few minutes before.
Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who came out even in the busy summer months, and thank you to PCC for donating all that food! For photos of the event, please check our Facebook page (our Flickr account reached its maximum with the parade photos on the weekend). PCC Packing Parties are open to volunteers and occur at 7pm the 3rd Wednesday of every other month.