What It’s Like to Volunteer at Great Plains Food Bank

The mission of RDO Caters Taters for Charity is to leave a lasting impact on benefiting charities – in addition to raising dollars. This year, the Great Plains Food Bank was thrilled to receive $83,333 from RDO Caters Taters, which will support its mission of ending hunger in North Dakota and western Minnesota. But more than that, the organization gained new connections and greater awareness of the issue of food insecurity in the community. It’s important to the RDO team that the support of RDO Caters Taters’ benefiting charities extends beyond event day. One way this is done is through volunteering. Many RDO team members donate their time to volunteer with local non-profits, including current and past RDO Caters Taters’ charities. Throughout the summer and fall, several team members volunteered at Great Plains Food Bank. For others interested in continuing to support Great Plains Food Bank, here’s what it’s like to volunteer. Giving Back The Great Plains Food Bank relies on volunteers to do various tasks including to help sort, label, and repack donated and bulk foods. In that spirit, two evenings were organized where team members could sign up to volunteer on their own or with family members. Terri Hanson, Project Manager for R.D. Offutt Company, took the opportunity to bring her oldest son along to join in the fun. “He has volunteered for other organizations, from Meals on Wheels to ringing bells for the Salvation Army, so this was a chance to expose him to something new,” Terri said. After learning more about Great Plains Food Bank through her work as an RDO Caters Taters committee member, Terri’s eyes were opened to the community’s need, and she felt it important to get, not only herself, but her son involved. This was Terri’s third time volunteering at the Great Plains Food Bank and this time she got to help out one of the organization’s special programs: the BackPack Program, an effort to provide hungry children with meals and snacks over the weekend. “We took bulk cereal and packaged it into small, single-serving sizes,” she said. “Our group worked for two hours and it was an easy and fun way to give back.” The Great Plains Food Bank often receives large bulk donations so volunteers are needed to repackage those foods into sizes appropriate for the recipient. Terri says she’ll volunteer again in 2019 and would like to get her team members at the office involved. Making an Impact Older children, like Terri’s son, aren’t the only ones who can participate in volunteering. All ages are welcome to help. Kari Stenger, Senior Operations Accountant for RDO Equipment Co., brought her five-year-old niece and the experience stuck with her. “We packaged potatoes and then, a few weeks later, she saw RDO Caters Taters on the news and got really excited,” Kari said. “The event and potatoes reminded her about volunteering and she asked when we could do it again.” Kari’s group took giant bags of potatoes – “these bags were almost taller than us,” she recalls – and repackaged them into five-pound bags, an appropriate size for families. Similar to Terri’s group, the work took about two hours. “It reminds you how easy it is to give just two hours and it makes a difference,” Kari said. “And it’s fun!” Interested in volunteering at Great Plains Food Bank? Visit the website for details and to sign up.

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