Volunteers are the hands and feet of Second Harvest

Photo: WKRN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Friday is a special day for News 2 because it’s the Founder’s Day of Caring. News 2 employees are volunteering with Second Harvest Food Bank across the city.

Second Harvest is a distribution center for smaller non-profits working to feed the hungry in 46 counties in Middle and West Tennessee.

Some volunteers can get service hours.

“I’m doing Tennessee Promise so, basically, you just volunteer for 8 hours a semester and you get free education,” said Ethan Todd.

Others find it to be a good way to get quality time with their family.

“I came with my daughter to help out; it’s something that we enjoy doing together,” said Jenifer Rucker.

Lisa Wagar is the Manager of Volunteer Engagements at Second Harvest. She says no matter what gets you through the doors, the experience you get at Second Harvest will make you want to keep going back, and they don’t ask a lot of you.

“A willing attitude, that’s about it. Eagerness to help out and we will train you on anything you need to know when you come,” said Wagar.

There are so many ways you can help at Second Harvest, from the sorting room, to the freezer, administrative and receptionist duties, working in the culinary arts center, or on special projects, like the “Backpack Program.”

“It goes home with them on Fridays so they have food to eat on Saturdays and Sundays when they don’t have access to meals at school,” Wagar told News 2.

There are even opportunities for people who really want to get their hands dirty.

Wagar said, “We have several different farms in Davidson County that we partner with, planting, harvesting, weeding, we do all of that stuff on the farms and some of those donations come back to us.”

Mike Berger is a retired Vanderbilt University professor, and has been a part of Second Harvest since 2005. He told News 2 it all started when he saw the need for people to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

“I said, ‘Okay, I’ll give it two hours and see how I like it’,” Berger said.

He says he loved it so much, he has been going back two days a week ever since and there are a few reasons.

“It’s feeding the hungry, the mission of Second Harvest. Secondly, it’s great for fitness because I’m moving all the time. Thirdly, you get to work with a lot of different groups, all different walks of life,” Berger said.

On any given day, there could be 20, to a couple hundred volunteers. Organizers say they would not be able to provide food for the hungry in Tennessee without them, because Berger said, “volunteers are the hands and feet of Second Harvest.”

The food donated to Second Harvest comes from around 200 local grocery stores, and food is distributed to about 500 partner agencies every day.

Volunteer opportunities are available Monday through Saturday. You can decide how you want to donate your time when you register on secondharvestmidtn.org.