Hundreds of Area Youth Volunteers help All Faiths Food Bank Fight Hunger

The Giving Coast

To learn more about the High School Hunger Heroes program, contact Hasselbring at 941-549-8156 or vhasselbring@allfaithsfoodbank.org.

A recent effort has proved that – no matter how young or old, or what their previous experience in charitable works may be – all community members can, indeed, make a difference in the lives of others. All Faiths Food Bank’s High School Hunger Heroes program first launched in January of 2021; during the 2021-2022 school year, 246 students contributed a total of 3,729 volunteer hours in the effort to provide nutritional assistance to individuals and families in need in Sarasota County.

The students – who hail from Booker, Cardinal Mooney, Lakewood Ranch, North Port, Pine View, Riverview, Sarasota and Venice High Schools – volunteered monthly at 10 mobile distributions over the course of the school year as well as packed boxes of food at the Food Bank’s warehouse.

On June 9, All Faiths hosted an end-of-year luncheon for high school students who participated in the inaugural year of the High School Hunger Heroes Peer Leadership Program. The students were treated to lunch, played some ice-breaker games, tested their knowledge of the food bank with trivia questions, and took a tour of the facility and warehouse. They also provided valuable feedback for ideas to grow and improve the program moving forward. Before they left, the students were challenged to recruit a friend to participate in the program for the next school year.

Area students are encouraged to accumulate 120 hours of community service throughout their high school career. The High School Hunger Heroes program gives students the opportunity to use their time and talents to not only complete volunteer hours but also to make a lasting difference in their community.

“I believe the majority of students get involved initially to satisfy their community service requirements but they remain in the program because they’re making friends, learning valuable lessons from the more mature and experienced volunteers they’re working with, gaining a broader perspective of the world around them, and experiencing the fulfillment that comes from helping those in need,” says Victoria Hasselbring, All Faiths Food Bank’s community engagement & volunteer coordinator.

To learn more about the High School Hunger Heroes program, contact Hasselbring at 941-549-8156 or vhasselbring@allfaithsfoodbank.org.

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