[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text letter_spacing=””]Today brought us to our third non-profit partner of our trip, Forgotten Harvest. We spent the day re-packaging food that would otherwise have gone to waste, and putting together food for lunches. When we got back to the hostel we had the opportunity to talk to Emma, an SStS Detroit alumna who lives in the area.
Hannah: Today we visited Forgotten Harvest’s warehouse and we started the day off by going through big sacks of potatoes. We were all assigned to a sack and were given smaller bags to repackage the potatoes in while making sure to discard/separate the potatoes with white mold to stop any spread of contamination within the sack. One bag of potatoes feeds one resident/family. Each big sack of potatoes was 2,000 pounds and as we continued to work to create the smaller bags, the big bags got smaller and smaller, which was satisfying to watch. All of the bags we made will go to different food banks, shelters, and homes through Forgotten Harvest’s distribution trucks. There are 10 drivers at Forgotten Harvest that travel 1,000 miles a day to deliver all of the food daily. After we finished with the sacks of potatoes, the ending weight was about 5,000 pounds of potatoes in the bags for families who need them.
Gabe: This morning, the Shoulder to Shoulder team arrived at Forgotten Harvest ready for the day’s work. In the beginning, we all congregated in Forgotten Harvest’s conference room. Then, Ms. Coleman gave us some information and statistics about the services Forgotten Harvest provides; specifically, she talked about their food pick up process. After she gave us an introduction to the work we would be doing, she sent us right to the warehouse to begin bagging the potatoes, 8-10 a bag. Pretty quickly, two hours had passed and it was time for our lunch break. During the lunch break, the team and I sat out at some of the picnic tables Forgotten Harvest had set up. We talked and reflected for an hour about our time in Detroit and how the experience had opened our eyes to a different, unique environment which we have all been enjoying for the past couple of days. We also reflected individually about our time this week with our counselors. After our break, we went back to work this time packaging sandwiches that will be delivered to places around the town like service organizations, libraries, and school. These lunches will be given to children who would otherwise go without lunch due to the lunch program that would normally be provided by the school being closed for summer. After packing pallets of food for nine food programs, I was responsible for the plastic wrapping that would keep the food together during its transit to its designated location. The group then was split up, leaving some of us to throw away the trash while others compacted cardboard boxes to be recycled. During our time at Forgotten Harvest we packaged over 5,000 pounds worth of potatoes, with each package providing enough for one household. Including the lunches, we packaged approximately 7,000 meals. Though this work was very tiring, we completed our tasks and as a group felt that this was a fantastic organization to work with and really felt like we made a difference. I thought that this organization was very enlightening and I felt that I was able to provide substantive work at this service opportunity.