Intern Series: Volunteering on the Grocery Floor

(Editor's Note: This is the second in a series from our communications intern, Mollie, as she spends the summer here at ACFB.)

I like to think that I have settled into life at the Atlanta Community Food Bank by now. I know most of the people that work around me, I’ve finally memorized all of my passwords, and I’m getting the hang of typing on a PC keyboard. However, there’s still so many aspects of the Food Bank I have yet to experience, as I was reminded when I volunteered at the Grocery Floor.

I didn’t really know much about the Grocery Floor before I headed down to the warehouse to volunteer for the day. I thought it might be a little like the Product Rescue Center, where I volunteered my first week of work. For my Grocery Floor shift, there were only six volunteers, myself included. We were given a small tour of the facilities, and then led to a room behind the Grocery Floor, and then the Food Bank employee apologized because it was a bit of a slow day. There were three enormous boxes full of various sized water bottles. Our job was to pack these water bottles into smaller, shippable boxes, which would then be distributed by the Food Bank.

Two of the volunteers were asked to work on the actual Grocery Floor, so it was just me and three other volunteers sorting water. The three people were interns at Coca-Cola, so we had the intern life in common. Sorting water bottles can get a little tedious, believe it or not, so I put on some music on my phone. Thankfully, the other interns allowed me to play exclusively Taylor Swift.

To pack the boxes, I carried as many water bottles as I could hold from the big box to the shipping boxes. It was only a distance of a few feet, but water is surprisingly heavy. When a box was packed completely, I closed it up, but couldn’t lift it. Thankfully, some of the other volunteers were stronger than I am. We stacked the closed boxes on pallets, ready to be stored in the Food Bank’s warehouse.

We finished packing the water relatively quickly, so the Food Bank employee brought us to the Grocery Floor. Here, we were given large boxes full of food. We sorted through the food and arranged it on the shelves, so that agencies coming through could easily find what they’re looking for.

When we finished sorting through all of this food, we got to go on a more extended tour of the warehouse. Since I’m an employee at the Food Bank, I had seen all of this before. However, it was fun to look at it through the eyes of someone else. The volunteers were incredibly impressed with the size of our enormous refrigerators, and the sheer amount of food currently residing in the Food Bank to be distributed.

The Grocery Floor was enjoyable for me because it’s very hands-on. I had direct contact with the product, and it was very easy to visualize how this food would help people. It is definitely an opportunity I would recommend to anyone interested in helping alleviate hunger.

--Mollie Cahillane, Communications Intern