Fort Myers, Florida clients give back to the community

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Opportunity Services has been volunteering once a week at the Food Bank at Tice United Methodist Church for over three years! Located in Fort Myers, Florida, the food bank has rapidly grown over the last year. They’ve nearly doubled the amount of food they provide to the community, now serving over 600 families per month! The Opportunity Services team of 5-6 individuals plays a valuable role providing support to the 30-40 food bank volunteers. Did you know each non-perishable food item must have the barcode scratched out before it is served or used to make a meal? The OS team marks through the barcodes of all the goods received at the pantry, taking this once time-consuming job and making it fun! The team also unloads the food trucks and restocks the pantry once the food is labeled correctly. “The OS team is an integral part of our volunteers. I could not imagine the food bank without them,” states Tice United Methodist Church Reverend Cherie Chapmen. “They bring positivity and laughter to us and they’ve made our entire team stronger.”

The addition of the OS team to the food bank also helps the clients themselves. Several clients who began volunteering at the food bank three years ago were withdrawn and would not communicate with other volunteers. The volunteers in the pantry have made a world of difference to the OS clients! Every week the clients are greeted by the volunteers and spend their time restocking the pantry in engaging conversation. Volunteering at the food bank has helped the clients to continue their individual growth. This partnership is truly beneficial for everyone involved! The food bank has happy and willing volunteers, and the OS clients get to be part of the team and enjoy spending time with new friends.