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Johnson Development Communities Organize Volunteer Day at Montgomery County Food Bank

Woodforest - Johnson Development Communities Organize Volunteer Day at Montgomery County Food Bank

March 06, 2023

Development teams from the Johnson Development communities of Woodforest and Grand Central Park joined local real estate agents to spend the morning of Feb. 22 at the Montgomery County Food Bank, packing enough food for 4,725 meals.

The volunteers were split into two teams — one that sorted and packed more than 2,300 pounds of produce while the other filled 368 boxes of bagged rice and beans for boxes of meals. The crews worked with food bank “Red Shirts,” experienced food bank volunteers who could oversee the work and answer questions.

“They did an awesome job,” said Volunteer Services Manager Andrea Richardson. “Their work will result in 4,725 meals out into the community just in the couple of hours they spent packaging the rice, beans and produce on Wednesday. Every volunteer involved with us in any capacity makes an incredible impact.”

Richardson said the food bank relies heavily on volunteers to serve the more than 65,000 monthly recipients — a make-up of children, seniors and families in need. The center hosts 600 volunteers on average per month. The number is split almost evenly between individual volunteers and those who came as a group, like the team from Woodforest and Grand Central Park. Total volunteer hours during 2022 eclipsed 45,000 hours.

The Woodforest and Grand Central Park team worked two of the three sorting areas at the center. Richardson says the Produce Rescue Center is unique to the Montgomery County Food Bank, where volunteers work in the refrigerator to sort through produce donated from grocery stores and others to determine freshness and longevity, then packaging the produce.

“For some of our food-insecure neighbors, this may be their one and only way to get fresh, nutritious produce,” she said.

The team also participated in general sorting, which, in addition to rice, beans and other shelf-stable food items, also includes paper goods, hygiene products, box assembly and more. A “Meat Lovers” shift tasks volunteers with sorting through frozen food items.

“These shifts take place in the freezer, so we ask volunteers to dress warmly and then we provide additional jackets, freezer suits, gloves and hand and toe warmers as needed,” Richardson said.

Volunteers are also asked to help distribute food directly to the doors of low-income seniors and at Montgomery County Food Bank’s mobile food distributions.

Individuals interested in volunteering can do so online at https://mcfoodbank.org. Groups can reach out to Richardson at 936-271-8820.

The Feb. 22 volunteer event is one of four that Woodforest and Grand Central Park have planned this year. In April, they will invite Realtors to join them volunteering at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. September will see the return to Habitat of Humanity Montgomery County for a Build Day. In December, the group will help out at Meals on Wheels. The “Giving Day” initiative is part of the communities’ Empower Realtors program, a series of classes and events to help real estate agents personally and professionally.

“We had such a good response last year when we helped build a home with Habitat for Humanity, that we decided to put volunteer days on our regular roster of events this year,” said Monica Conchola, Realtor Relations Liaison. “Like our day at Habitat, working with the food bank was a great experience. And with all that they do, the food bank only has 30 employees, so it’s important to volunteer there.”


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