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Januaries Volunteer to Feed the Hungry

After barely two weeks of C&S, BGIE and NEG, almost fifty Jans and partners took on GBFB during a Saturday, May 19th field trip. No, you won’t get a grade for it and there were no write-ups, but you would have felt pretty good about helping 132 people eat another meal. GBFB, the Greater Boston Food Bank, collects food donated by the private sector-from over 500 supermarkets, wholesalers and manufacturers-and distributes over 13 million pounds of food annually to over 900 feeding programs including soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Most of the brave volunteers weren’t sure what they signed up for, but were definitely surprised by what they learned.

They now know the difference between aluminum and steel cans, the “rice rule” regarding dents in cans, and that coffee is gold to food banks. They also discovered some new food products they hadn’t seen before – red butterscotch pudding, canned bread for baking, and several canned seafood products that were impossible to identify.

The team was divided into two parallel production lines and adopted new roles as movers, first sorters, second sorters, and QC experts to sort food by categories so that it can be sent out as needed. They even had our own workstations marked by cardboard boxes and had empty boxes between the first and second sorters serving as WIP! Prof. Steve Kaufman really wasn’t kidding when he said TOM was everywhere in life! In true HBS character, the group found some process inefficiencies and discussed process improvements during breaks.

When asked about their volunteering experience, Cindy Koch, NJ said, “I am amazed that in only three hours, we were each able to help over 130 people! I am impressed with how many people took time out on their Saturday afternoon to help.” On his way back, The Harbus’ very own Rob Alford, NH summed things up: “I would do this again any day!”

June 4, 2001
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