December 1, 2016

The Giving Tour: The Food Depot

The Food Depot in Santa Fe, NM

This is our last post in the 5-day Giving Tour extravaganza (just made that up). I hope you've enjoyed reading about the places where we've volunteered. Next week we will be back to fun times with posts 2-3 times a week about our recent travels. Now back to The Food Depot:

There wasn't much our family could do with a 2 year old and a warehouse full of food without a danger factor being present. Chris, the Volunteer Coordinator at The Food Depot took care of us anyway. He set us up as a group. We arrived and were given a tour of the facility. Think the Costco of Food Banks. Chris educated all of us on what it is they actually do at the Food Depot and it was extremely helpful and appreciated. Our kids were pumped to put on their hair nets to help and get started on our task.

The warehouse and Niko's purse. JK-- it's mine. 
A bit about The Food Depot first: They distribute over 445,000 pounds of food and household products EVERY MONTH! They serve, through their partner agencies over 370,000 meals EVERY MONTH! That's pretty amazing stuff right there. They have several different special programs, too: Backpacks of Hope, Diaper Depot, Food 4 Pets, Mobile Food Pantry, Lunch Box Express and Food 4 Kids. Here is basically how it goes down (and I hope I get it right)-- The Food Depot collects food that might otherwise be thrown away due to an excess in production or because items are nearing the sell by date. They also have around 100 local donors that help. They store food and household products in the warehouse and local organizations in need (such as homeless shelters, group homes, senior centers and many more) come pick up their order based on what they need that week. We learned that the food has a quick turnaround time and that nothing is in the warehouse for long. The Food Depot is in large part run by trusted volunteers that help sort and organize all the food that comes in. That's where the Cortes Crew comes in.


My funny kid- the rooster

The Food Depot was able to get pinto beans at 8 cents a pound. How much pinto beans did they have to buy in order to get it at that price one might ask? 40,000 pounds! We were tasked with taking beans from one humongous bag and packaging it into a more usable 1 pound bag. We had two hours and we quickly developed an assembly line. Both boys packed the beans up and sealed them. I tagged them and kept a tally on our numbers. Then, last but certainly not least little Miss put all the bags into boxes.

Cayenne laying on bags of pinto beans
LOVE this picture!
Our first time at The Food Depot we packed a total of 161 bags. 1 bag more than our 160 goal. We were proud. We really enjoyed ourselves, too. We went back the day before Thanksgiving and there were 3 other mother/daughter teams there to help. We were able to do over 1,000 bags! Niko made sure to do 1 more than our goal yet again. It was incredible to see how much we could accomplish with a group! 

We look forward to encouraging others in the Santa Fe community to help out at The Food Depot. Be sure to post your pics and #givingtour2016!

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