April became National Volunteer Month as part of President George H. W. Bush’s 1000 Points of Light campaign in 1991. This April, Food Bank of South Jersey’s remarkable volunteers did not get celebrated in all the ways FBSJ intended due to the rapid rise in food insecurity impacting our region due to COVID-19.
While April 2020 was not the April we thought and hoped it would be, it was no less significant in terms of the resilient and unbreakable spirit of volunteerism that is the foundation of the Food Bank of South Jersey.
The Food Bank of South Jersey was started in the City of Camden by a small and visionary group of dedicated volunteers. These volunteers were committed to feeding the hungry – children, families, seniors. This small group took it upon itself to, in June of 1985, formally launch what today is the largest hunger-relief organization serving South Jersey.
Today, the Food Bank of South Jersey distributes more than 15 million pounds of food a year to four counties relying upon it to feed its food-insecure residents.
“Volunteers are often seen as just the helpers of an organization, assisting in a variety of jobs and taking care of tasks to relieve staff. However, our volunteers are, in fact, an integral extension of an organization – this is true especially in food banks across the country as we rely on volunteers to help out with nearly every part of our operations,” states FBSJ Volunteer Services Manager Gerald Tieyah. “Day in and day out, from sorting and packing food to distributing the food into the communities and to the people in need, our nation’s food banks could not do all that is needed without volunteers.”
Food Bank of South Jersey volunteers are not only extensions of the organization – they are its very foundation.
“FBSJ was started by volunteers giving their time and energy to meet the needs of the community and that tradition continues today through the current COVID-19 response,” shares Tieyah. “Throughout our 35 years, thousands upon thousands of volunteers have made certain our operations are successful in fulfilling its founding mission to feed South Jersey.”
Right now, more than 10,000 volunteers join us each year to help our neighbors in need. Interested in being a point of light with the Food Bank of South Jersey? Find out more about volunteering with FBSJ at www.foodbanksj.org.
A Taste of Compassion: Stay up to date on all that's happening at the Food Bank of South Jersey with our SPRING NEWSLETTER. This issue, discover the HOPE in hope mobile! #HOPEmobile #EndHungerinSJ