Behind the scenes: Volunteering at the Red Cross Food Pantry

The Red Cross’ Boston Food Pantry is the city’s largest, providing an emergency food supply to more than 4,500 families every month. When the pantry opens its doors on Wednesdays and Saturdays, hundreds of people line up to receive up to nine bags of food—each packed full with can goods, cereals, fresh produce and meat—for their families.

This extraordinary operation relies on a talented support staff and nearly 30 volunteers every day, who come from the Boston-area and across New England to help unload delivery trucks, stuff bags, and hand out food to families in need. Last week, I had the great opportunity to visit the pantry and meet some of these remarkable staff members and volunteers; here are the photos from my visit.

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry

The day starts with a quick “circle-up.” A Red Cross staff member welcomes volunteers and assigns everyone a job to do.

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry

Youth volunteers from the Food Project, donning gloves, prepare to stuff bags of produce

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry produce

Boxes of fresh zucchini were just delivered, ready to be unpacked

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry - Food project volunteer

Left, a sign on the fridge details what produce items will be put into each “wet” bag; families receive a “wet” food bag and a “dry” food bag. Right, a Food Project volunteer carries boxes of produce from the warehouse.

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry - dry bags

Stuffed “dry” bags, full of cereals and pastas

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry -  Alicia Aispuro and Zach Semel

Outside, volunteers Alicia Aispuro and Zach Semel unload bread from a truck

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry

A Food Project volunteer unpacks a crate of turkey

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry - produce

Once the bags are full, they are tied and handed out to families. Though many of the bags are ready to go before doors open at 9am, stuffing continues throughout the morning

Red Cross Boston Food Pantry - staff

The Red Cross staff outside the Roxbury warehouse after a successful—but busy—day at the food pantry

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One Response

  1. […] Alternatively, you could also volunteer directly through the Red Cross itself. The Red Cross blog has a great post about the “behind the scenes” scope of volunteer […]

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