United Way hosts Day of Caring – Participants help at Food Bank
By Laura Garcia Aug. 4, 2017 at 9:30 p.m.
A volunteer yells, "Nine pallets down!" as he drops a cardboard box filled with food on top of a huge stack.
A resounding "Wooo!" is the reply from tired yet determined volunteers at one of three assembly lines Friday morning at the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent.
Each line put together cardboard boxes, filling them with food before taping them shut.
Companies, nonprofit agencies and individuals came together for the Day of Caring event, which is hosted by the Victoria County United Way.
Food bank Executive Director Robin Cadle said more than 3,000 emergency food boxes would be filled.
Each box can feed a family for three to five days.
The food bank is a distribution center that sends food to agencies that serve those in need in the Crossroads.
"The majority of people who go to these pantries are the working poor," Cadle said. "Most of us are just one paycheck away from that."
The project at the food bank helped package emergency food boxes, providing a total of 50,000 meals.
The labor also helped ease the workload on the food bank's 15 employees and regular volunteers, Cadle said.
Every year, the Victoria County United Way chooses different partnering nonprofit agencies to help with its big community service project.
Smaller groups worked at the Barbara Bauer Briggs Family YMCA, Victoria County Senior Citizens Center and the Victoria Christian Assistance Ministry.
The biggest project was at the food bank, drawing about 130 volunteers, said United Way Executive Director Dolly Stokes.
"It's great," she said. "We're just really proud of the volunteers that come and work in the heat."
The nonprofit will have a second Day of Caring on Aug. 25.
Stokes said the Victoria County United Way is celebrating its 70th year.
The nonprofit announced a goal to raise $920,000 during its upcoming campaign.
Board President David Edwards said the Day of Caring project was fun because there was rivalry between the assembly line teams to see who could finish first.
Edwards is a business banking manager at Wells Fargo Bank and volunteered with a few other employees.
Karl Koch, a chemist at LyondellBasell, said about a dozen of his co-workers volunteered for the day.
"This is our way of giving back," he said while taking a break from measuring pinto beans into individual bags.
In one of the assembly lines, Julie Hoblak quickly places cans of green beans in a box and passes it along.
She recently moved to Victoria and started working at Caterpillar.
Hoblak said this was her first time volunteering for the Day of Caring, and she likes being able to help people.
"I feel good about it because in my house, nobody goes hungry," she said. "These are packed with love."
Jessica Bellan puts sweet peas into a box during Day of Caring at the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent. Volunteers packaged 50,000 meals at the event. The food bank serves 11 counties. Ana Ramirez for The Victoria Advocate
IF YOU GO
• WHAT: Day of Caring in Cuero
• WHEN: 8 a.m.-noon Aug. 25
• WHERE: Boys & Girls Club of DeWitt County, 1510 E. Courthouse St. in Cuero; a group will also work at the Boys & Girls Club of Victoria, 202 Hopkins St.
• CONTACT: Register online at unitedwayvictoria.org or call 361-578-3561 before the event.