The Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee is a non-profit organization who provides food to the needy throughout an 18-county service area.
Presently, Second Harvest is also needy - for volunteers said Sandy Rees, director of development for the local food bank.
"There are always things to do here, always, just like every other non-profit organization," she said.
Rees described the organization's largest program called "Salvage." Workers take dented and damaged goods from grocery stores and put them into large boxes to send to The Salvation Army, soup kitchens and other Knoxville agencies that offer emergency assistance.
A cereal box with a smashed corner or an opened box of oatmeal that still contains sealed individual packets are both examples of these damaged goods.
"The duty of the volunteers in this program would be to sort through the goods in the warehouse and save those which are still acceptable. The different stations often involve separating, tagging and boxing the goods. There is very little lifting," Cheyenne Riffey, salvage coordinator, said. "It's all easy work."
Many times the food collected and distributed is often prepared and perishable such as surplus from restaurants and cafeterias, produce from wholesalers and grocers and dairy products from wholesalers. Second Harvest also collects close-dated dairy and deli products from grocers and even fresh produce from backyard gardeners.
Non-foods are also collected such as paper items, pacifiers, washing powder for cleaning, toiletries and baby bottles.
Whether a food item or not, all products need to be separated, tagged and boxed.
"It takes a lot of hands to handle all the food. That's where we could use a lot of volunteers who sort through the food and get it ready to distribute to other agencies," Rees said.
Large groups, such as fraternities, sororities, clubs and church groups are all welcome to help. Also, any student who would like to obtain some service hours, even for just a couple of hours, one day a week, Riffey said the help is always needed.
"We won't turn anyone willing away," Riffey said.
For more information contact Second Harvest at 521-0000.