Summer Food Invasion Field Day volunteering
This is a guest post by Jessica Gonchar, an Emerging Leader volunteer and communication specialist at Milliman.
When kids think of summer, they think of playing outside, ice cream, and freedom from school. But parents often worry about the financial burden of keeping their children occupied and well fed for three long months, especially the thousands who rely on free and reduced meals at school. To ease this burden, United Way’s Food Invasion program helped feed kids healthy meals at more than 250 sites around King County this summer while providing a fun and stigma-free environment so kids would feel welcomed.
On Saturday, August 13, I met 12 other Emerging Leaders volunteers and two AmeriCorps Vista leaders downtown Seattle at the United Way headquarters. Our goal was to create kits and activities for kids who would visit a meal site later that month. These activities were designed to make the site feel more like summer camp than a public service so kids wouldn’t feel embarrassed to attend.
There were five stations, each with a different activity:
- Writing thank you cards for site volunteers
- Compiling candy bags
- Folding origami riddle stars
- Creating tissue paper flowers
- Cutting and organizing posters
The two AmeriCorps leaders quickly explained each station, and we broke out into groups of three. Some of the stations were more difficult than others (I’m looking at you, origami stars) but we were able to move around and try out a few stations. After a few hours of crafting, we were treated to pizza!
Volunteering at Emerging Leader events is a great way to meet new people and give back to our community. We all left feeling accomplished, knowing that we had helped reduce financial pressures of families in our community and keep summer fun for all kids.