Ruby happened to watch a commercial for Feeding America. It showed people providing nutrition education in different languages, and asked people to get involved in the organization. When she told her mom Wendy about it they decided to look into volunteering. “We had been looking for a place to volunteer,” Wendy said, but it can be “hard to find places where kids can help.”
They began by browsing the Feeding America website. Founded as a national organization of food banks in 1979, Feeding America began under the name “Second Harvest” and has grown to include a network of 200 food banks across the country. Feeding America is now the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. Feeding America came to San Diego in 2007 with a mission to “end hunger through healthy food, education, and advocacy.”
While searching for ways to volunteer, Wendy and Ruby discovered the NUcrew Kid’s Club, a special program to help kids get involved with the organization. They ordered a packet which included activity ideas. Ruby began sharing what she learned with her classmates. With help from her parents, Ruby organized a food drive for her class and collected 90 pounds of food!
Ruby was inspired to do more! When she delivered her food donations, she learned that Feeding America hosts events and parties. Ruby decided right then that she wanted to have her 9th birthday party at Feeding America San Diego. “That was in April, and my birthday isn’t until the end of September,” Ruby said. “I’m surprised I didn’t change my mind!” Wendy adds, “I was kind of surprised [the idea] stuck, but once we started planning there was no turning back!”
In September, Ruby and her friends celebrated her birthday party at Feeding America San Diego. Their volunteer jobs included disposal of expired, medicinal, and unhealthy food items. They sorted through 1.5 tons of unusable products. Wendy was surprised at the amount of expired items, “We didn’t realize that a huge component of what they do is just sifting.” The group also decorated lunch bags to be used for a weekend lunch program for deserving children.
Wendy was grateful for a meaningful and engaging experience for Ruby’s party guests. Ruby’s favorite part “Was dumping expired [drinks] in this big sink…It was fun!”
The poster for Ruby’s canned food drive quotes Matthew 25:35, “For I was hungry and you gave me food.” She is living out our most basic calling as Christians, and encouraging others to do the same. Ruby and her family hope to stay involved with Feeding America.
This article was written by Becky Gleason, Children’s Minister.