Carlos and Hernan, who work in our Nonprofit Food Center, help our nonprofit partners pick up nutritious food like fresh produce to take back to their respective distribution sites.

Thankful Thursday: San Diego Food Bank Warehouse Staff

by Michael Minjares, Grant Writer Manager

At any time of the year the daily work of the Food Bank warehouse staff fills a full day and then some. Stocking the Food Center space with dry and canned goods, fresh produce, bread and dairy, ensuring a safe and accessible space for all organizations picking up food, and cleaning and re-stocking regularly keep our dedicated employees busy. The hard work of this staff enables the Food Bank to welcome our non-profit partners to a clean, organized and efficient food distribution center each and every day.

The same can be said for the Food Bank’s volunteer crew as they greet the thousands of community members who come to the warehouse to roll up their sleeves and contribute to our good work for their neighbors in need. Starting with the volunteer check-in and orientation process, our volunteer crew sees that our volunteers’ experience is memorable for the work accomplished and the manner in which it takes place. Staff sets up work stations, delivers supplies, oversees workflow, ensures compliance with safety guidelines, responds to questions, and meticulously cleans up at the end of the volunteers’ shift, several times a day, six days a week.

Now, throw in one of the Food Bank’s many special or media events and the skill of these hard-working individuals shines even brighter. The Food Bank Gala, Annual Meeting, and numerous news conferences, like the recent public launch of this year’s Holiday Food Drive, find an ideal backdrop in the Food Bank’s extensive warehouse. The same staff that interacts with our volunteers and sets up, stocks, breaks down and cleans our Food Center, often bears responsibility for the in-house logistics associated with hosting our business and community members. It’s a task they tackle with enthusiasm and a can-do attitude.

“Holding events here allows the public to see our warehouse for themselves, but it is a balancing act,” said Food Center Coordinator, Carlos Hernandez. “The daily activity is important to continue while we also arrange the warehouse for the event. We always pay careful attention to perishable items and try to supply what our partners want for their organizations. At the same time, we’re clearing things out quickly, sweeping and cleaning floors and assisting in the event set up. We receive a lot of positive feedback about the look of the warehouse as people arrive for events. It has the look of a formal gala, for example, and the feel of a working warehouse. It’s nice to have those two distinct looks.”

Carlos and his colleagues on the warehouse floor, including the volunteer crew and warehouse management staff, take pride in their ability to maintain the daily workings of an 80,000-square foot space that more and more serves multiple purposes.

As the Food Bank heads into its busiest time of the year for community involvement and support, we take a minute to salute the All-Star warehouse and volunteer staff who do a tremendous job in meeting their daily responsibilities and deliver a little extra for those special occasions when we showcase the best the Food Bank has to offer.