California MENTOR and CareMeridian Join For Volunteer Day
On April 25th over 100 employees of California MENTOR and CareMeridian, along with their families, joined for the 3rd Annual National Volunteer Day. Together they filled boxes of food for low-income seniors at the Orange County Food Bank giving back to the community they call home. The morning started with a continental breakfast and a station where volunteers were able to share what inspires them to “lend a hand”– where a common theme of inspiration was “love for community” and “paying it forward.”
Kicking off the event, everyone gathered to listen to the Mentor NETWORK’s President and CEO, Bruce Nardella. When Bruce mentioned the group, there was an eruption of cheers and it was clear that everyone was excited for a day of giving back. Volunteer Supervisor for the Orange County Food Bank, Andre Gaithe, welcomed the group and spoke about how their volunteerism would benefit the community. Andre challenged the team to think about what it would be like to have to choose between paying rent and having food to eat. All of the boxes filled during the Volunteer Day would be distributed once a month to seniors in Orange County living on monthly incomes of $1,200 or less; each box providing them with food for one week.
The team formed small groups and spent the next several hours assembling boxes, filling them with cereal, milk, juice, canned foods and rice and then taping them shut. Volunteers worked together to ensure that the assembly lines flowed smoothly, items were placed in the boxes correctly, taped securely and finally gently stacked on pallets ready to be loaded into trucks. There was a sense of camaraderie and purpose as volunteers caught up with familiar co-workers and had the opportunity to get to know others. Shanna Holzer, Program Director of the Long Beach FHA program, said, “I was very proud to be part of the day, giving back to the community. I was very impressed that our group was able to package food for 2,000 people!” In all, the California MENTOR and CareMeridian team filled over 2,000 boxes of food!