Imperial Valley Food Bank holds biannual volunteer training


Volunteers serving through food distribution agencies receive training at First United Methodist Church July 25th

EL CENTRO – The Imperial Valley Food Bank held its biannual volunteer training, Tuesday, July 25th, at the First United Methodist Church in El Centro, according to their press release. Over 65 participants representing agencies which distribute food acquired from Imperial Valley Food Bank attended the English training, which is the first of two sessions planned.

The volunteers help distribute food directly to people in need at various agency distribution sites, such as Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and participating churches, according to the release.

Lori Copwood, Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP) consultant, led presentations in the USDA program and civil rights training. Volunteers learned food safety, the importance of proper hygiene, and how to inspect produce and other donated food. The report said after a lunch made possible by Junior’s Café, attendees attended a short seminar on how to handle difficult situations and people at food distribution sites. The Food Bank coached the volunteers about the changing political environment and how to help keep their client’s peace of mind. Immigration updates, particularly concerning new rumored executive orders and their effects on CalFresh participants, were also touched upon. Food Bank instructors talked about the proposed budget cuts at the government level and the belief on the havoc the cuts could wreak on the fight against hunger were presented, the report read. All information was given so volunteers could display greater quality of care for clients, according to the release.

People from all walks of life attended. Karinna Buzo, a young participant, said in the release, “It was fun and very educational. I enjoyed it.”

Sara Griffen, Executive Director of the Imperial Valley Food Bank expressed her gratitude towards the volunteers, in the report, who were honored with ribbons. “These people help carry out our mission all over the county.”, she said.  “We are so grateful for everything the volunteers do.”

The report said for some participants, this training was a refresher course. Some volunteers in attendance have been serving their community for upwards of 10 years. Leticia Grosh, a volunteer with 16 years of experience under her belt, said in the release, “I have seen this program grow and keep improving in quality over the years. It makes me satisfied to see how the Imperial Valley Food Bank helps those who are most dependent.”

The combined total of volunteer dedication at these two trainings represents 545 years of service to the hungry in Imperial County.  The Imperial Valley Food Bank wishes to thank these volunteers and show our utmost appreciation for them, according to their release.