Logistics and the Food Bank
I observe an incredible amount of logistics when I volunteer each month at our local food bank. Food is donated from a multitude of sources including government programs, community food drives and individual contributions. It arrives packed in bulk quantities on pallets from the federal government and in small grocery bags of assorted items from local citizens. All of the items need to be resorted and repackaged so that families will have access to a variety of foods in quantities that meet their needs.
My first few volunteer sessions I floated around to various departments like produce and dairy, but lately find myself consistently in the dry goods sorting room where pallets of assorted items are delivered to the sorting room to take the next steps in the process from arrival to distribution:
- Teams of volunteers sort a box at a time into carts by type so that they can be counted.
- Boxes of donations are resorted into carts by type of item such as canned vegetable, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, large soup, small soup, coffee, tea, baking ~ there are close to forty different sorts.
- Each group of items is then counted and entered into the tracking system that records the amount by donor.
- The counted items are sorted into their storage bins and then stocked to the shelves for clients to choose from.
The same process and sort function goes on in other departments ~ dairy products into yogurt, eggs, milk; pizza & baked goods into smaller packages; produce into bins by type. Any particular item gets handled several times from its initial donation until it ultimately is delivered to the community.
I think I probably demonstrated my accounting inclinations at an early age ~ I was always sorting items by type, color, whatever I could figure out. I’ve come to see accounting as a giant sort function, taking large amounts of data and sorting it into its relevant buckets. I find it a bit funny that volunteering with cans of green beans and packets of oatmeal, I am still doing the same function.
As always, each time I volunteer, I am humbled by the grace and kindness of the volunteers and clients at the food bank. I am grateful that Townsend Security encourages and allows me the opportunity to contribute back to our community with its Volunteer Program.
Sandra, Controller at Townsend Security