Hi, my name is Jennie Kochowicz and I've been a salesperson with Nashville Office Interiors (NOI) for the past 8 months. Being new to Nashville, I find it important to give back to my new community and make friends with like-minded people at the same time. While looking around Nashville for volunteer opportunities, I noticed that NAIOP was sponsoring an event at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and I jumped at the opportunity to participate. With a mission to "feed hungry people and work to solve hunger issues in our community," I felt confident that this volunteer opportunity was a focused, well-organized and purposeful event to be a part of.
For the past ten years, sustainability has been a hot topic in the world of interior design and similarly, I was curious about the sustainability initiatives within the food industry. Not to mention, I’ve heard that the Second Harvest Building on Great Circle Road (designed by Gresham, Smith, and Partners) is an amazing space and I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself.
After a busy day, I was feeling a little tired, but once inside the huge Ikea-sized building, stacked several floors high with donations, I started to get my second wind. We learned about the hundreds of grocery stores and various food outlets that donate their food to the organization that would otherwise go to waste…. crazy amounts of food! After a short orientation, we were assigned individual jobs. My task was inspecting each donation box to make sure nothing was open, damaged, or had gone bad and do some preliminary sorting. Some of the other assignments were breaking down boxes, weighing food on scales, packing food for delivery, and making care packages.
The evening was a total success. We grooved to a funky play list, caught up with friends, met new people, and managed to box several thousand pounds of food ready for distribution. I could not believe the amount of food that would have gone to waste if it wasn't for Second Harvest and similar food banks around the country. My final thoughts from the night made me wonder how we could provide more used home goods and furniture to at risk families and not-for-profit commercial businesses across the country in a more organized manner- similar to what Second Harvest does with food. More to come on that note!
I would definitely volunteer again in a group or on my own. If you'd like to find out more about volunteering at Second Harvest, click here. Thanks for reading!
“Today, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is one of the largest and most comprehensive of over 200 food banks and food distribution centers nationwide. During the 2015/2016 fiscal year, Second Harvest distributed more than 30 million pounds of food to more than 490 Partner Agencies, providing more than 25 million meals of food to hungry children, families and seniors throughout our 46-county service area.” – Second Harvest of Middle Tennessee Website