Students learn how to help others with work at area food bank


E. Hardy

Students from Ms. Hardy’s class volunteer to help at the Northwest Indiana Food Bank.

Once arriving at the Northwest Indiana Food Bank, students walk into a big room with pictures all over the wall showing many different names, people, quotes, and sponsors. They line up to sign in and wait for instruction. While waiting they observe the warehouse sized room in front of them through the glass door filled with tables, boxes, carts, and all kinds of food. 

They are instructed to wash their hands and on their way to the bathroom, they notice other volunteers already sorting foods. After washing their hands and putting on gloves their instructor takes them to a different area where there are many boxes of food waiting for them to sort.

Students in Ms. Elizabeth Hardy’s Principles of Human Services classes have been going to the Food Bank to perform community service. While they are there, they’ve been sorting and packing different types of food for people to pick up on Fridays. This opportunity gives them the chance to see what others in their community need and help provide for them. 

“When students are able to go back and see how they are helping others in the community…their mindset of things or perspective start to change,” Ms. Hardy said, “as well as being able to give back and making sure that they see who they help cause that long line on Fridays that wraps around the corner on Broadway…it kind of makes you feel good about yourself.”

Students in Ms. Hardy’s class say that this experience it was helpful to see how the food bank works and see how they help the community. The experience really inspired them.

“It was really amazing, it was eye-opening because I didn’t realize how many people actually cared about people like that…” Sophomore Ash Laurain said, “so when they put their time and effort into things like that it’s really cool and amazing how we all come together and it really doesn’t take a lot of time.” 

Junior Amarion Williams said the students performed a variety of tasks to help out, including manual labor. 

“You had people who actually were putting foods in baskets and then they had to carry it over and we had to stack them up individually and then they had me either stocking or actually lifting the cans to bring it over to the people who were putting the foods in the boxes,” he said.

Williams said he enjoys helping others and wants to continue to do that. 

“Really, I try to base my life around helping people,” he said. “That’s how I have always been, so I kind of like to keep it going,”

Ms. Hardy hopes that students will be able to go in, be respectful, and see what it takes to volunteer.

“To be able to help out and have that feeling of success,” she said, “because at the end of the day once they’re done they will go over how many boxes they packaged and how many families they’ll actually be able to help.”