Kent retirement community learns about spirit of volunteering at Northwest Harvest: Slide show

Volunteering is about more than just giving, it’s about receiving too. This lesson was evident as the volunteers of Farrington Court Retirement Community came to help out at the Northwest Harvest Kent Warehouse.

On Friday, Dec. 3, an enthusiastic group of 21 residents, staff, and family members joined other volunteers in prepping foods for distribution around King County. Little did these volunteers know, they themselves, would receive a very special gift as well.

Although it would seem that December would be the busiest time of year for Northwest Harvest, the truth of it is, that it’s always the busiest time of year, no matter what day it is. Families all over King County, from all walks of life, have been brought to a place in their lives where they can’t always do it on their own, and that’s where Northwest Harvest steps in. Hundreds of volunteers help out at the Kent warehouse every week to bag and distribute thousands upon thousands of pounds of product each day. Volunteers help make Northwest Harvest as productive as it is, feeding a family of 4 for just 67 cents a meal. It makes you look at pocket change with a whole new perspective.

On this particular project, Farrington Court volunteers, along with a group of seventh and eighth graders, were asked to individually pack oatmeal bags, and others, to mark product bags for beans. Two level scoops of oatmeal per bag would feed a family of four, and each bag needs to be correctly marked for distribution. Simple, it seems it would be to just bag oatmeal and mark bags, but these simple tasks make a world of a difference for the family who receives it. These simple tasks provide survival for a fellow human being.

It was a wonderful collaboration of generations coming together in this place to help those in need. Residents of Farrington Court, who are grandparents themselves, were eager to give advice to student volunteers. The teamwork between these people from different communities was very inspirational. It gave the image of world connection, that individually we are just one person, but together we become a powerful movement.

And a powerful movement they were! By the end of the day, the Volunteers had bagged 14,900 pounds of oatmeal and had marked thousands of bags for beans. Colleen Meyer, volunteer program assistant for Northwest Harvest, announced to the volunteers that together, they had packaged enough oatmeal to feed 4,258 families! As the volunteers applauded and cheered for a job well done, they were also faced with the reality that this was only the beginning of the need out there in our own community.

The volunteers of Farrington Court have now made a commitment with Northwest Harvest, to volunteer the first Friday of every month. And they will do so knowing, that they have made a difference in the lives of others, and the experiences have changed their lives as well.

Shanel Bell

Farrington Court Retirement Community

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