Inspiring Forward: Giving Back Together at Their Local Church

Giving back is a wonderful gesture that can cause a ripple effect to those that experience it.

Wet met with sisters, Sandra Adame (SA) and Genesis Martinez (GM), to talk about their Day of Giving experience volunteering at their local church’s food bank where they helped distribute meals and prepare the church for reopening.

AC: So, from what I gather, you ladies did your day of giving together? How did you go about planning for it?

SA: We are actually sisters, and the church is a local outreach for our community

GM: Yes, our church does a monthly food drive. Our church works a local food bank and distributes meals and boxes of food to all our elderly and community in need. They don’t need to leave their car; we wagon their meal to their trunk and load their food.

AC: Oh, that’s awesome! Can you tell us a bit about your church and this initiative?

SA: Yes, so basically, we do this outreach once a month, especially during these hard times our community has really been in need of help and our church has been able to sustain that need.

GM: Yes, so our church sets this up for the community and once a month. They accept donations from members as well as a local food bank. We also had the opportunity to clean up our nursery due to the church being shut down for the whole year. Also, our church is planning on opening up real soon, so we volunteered to sanitize book, shelves, and vacuum the room for the little ones.

AC: Was this your first-time volunteering there?

SA: I’ve been attending there since 2013, I have done the food bank drive a few other times and that’s how I brought Genny to help volunteer.

GM: It was, and it will not be my last 😊

AC: Oh wow, you’ve been doing it for 8 years, that’s admirable! Plus, you got Genny into joining. Are there any requirements for volunteers?

SA: Really anyone can help, but most of our volunteers are church members and students from the community. You show up at 6:30 AM, sign a roster and make sure you go through all the Covid-19 regulations and assemble food for those that register for the day.

AC: What motivated you to volunteer there?

GM: I was motivated because Sandra speaks so highly of the church and what they do for the community, especially during times like these, that I could not pass it up.

SA: Seeing how awful the pandemic had hit the central valley here in California and how much people needed an outreach to get by with meals proved to be the biggest motivator. It’s been a hard year for many and hearing day in and day out through our calls of the need, it was nice to put a face to Activus Connect and provide the help in person.

AC: Very true, during uncertain times it’s vital to give back, every bit counts! How was your experience while volunteering? Can you briefly walk us through your day of giving?

SA: So, help set up tables, chairs, canopies, and format a guide so that as car drive by or park they can receive their meals. Once the food bank truck arrives and pallets of food are dropped off, we begin by boxing them and dividing the items. We begin by sectioning all the items based on what food bank delivered and prep them for participants as they arrive. It’s an event that usually feeds up to 200 people or families.

GM: Definitely, I began organizing canned foods, boxes and making sure that each individual received the proper amount of food items. Around noon, we started picking things up and had lunch and headed to the nursery for the rest of the day to clean.

SA: We get about 10-15 volunteers each time, some bring donuts, coffee, and sandwiches for the volunteers. It’s really a wonderful event and a great church that gives back.

AC: Sandra, you mentioned something about them registering, do people have to register to get the food being hand out or anyone who comes can grab some?

SA: First come, first served basis, yes once they arrive there is a list that they have to place their names and phone number of people in household, that is the only requirement asked by our local food bank that provides the meals to our church.

AC: What would you say to encourage others to participate?

GM: Absolutely! I would say if anyone can participate, they should. It is very rewarding.

SA: I’d encourage others to participate and experience the wonderful act of giving. It’s rewarding to see how much relieve these meals do to someone who is in need or just needs a little extra help to get through this pandemic. It is better to give than to receive.

AC: Lastly, is there anything you’d like to tell our readers before we go?  

GM: Please participate when you can for your community when you can.

SA: I am grateful for the wonderful experience, and thank Activus Connect for this wonderful experience that is offered to us.