Families Volunteer Together: Food rescue run with Loaves & Fishes in Greenville, SC!

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Volunteering as a Food Rescuer at Loaves & Fishes in Greenville, SC is the perfect avenue for the whole family to give of their time to help those with food insecurity in our community. 

One of the most oft-repeated questions we get here at Kidding Around is “Where can I volunteer with kids?”. Many places need kids to be around middle school age to volunteer but there are several opportunities to help others with younger kids in tow. One of those is to volunteer with Loaves & Fishes. We did it and will tell you all about how to get involved with this organization. 

About Loaves & Fishes 

The mission of Loaves & Fishes is “[t]o eliminate food insecurity in Greenville County by ensuring no good food goes to waste.” This is done by partnering with grocery stores and restaurants to rescue their leftover food and deliver it to community centers, schools, shelters, low-income housing, food pantries, and other people who need it in our community. 

Food insecurity in the Upstate is very real. More than 45,000 residents in Greenville don’t know where their next meal is coming from and 76% percent of households who receive food assistance have kids under the age of 18 living at home. And more than half of kids who attend Greenville County Schools are eligible for free or reduced meals. 

Here’s the kicker though: globally, more than 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. Why can’t that food go to the people who need it? That’s the question that eventually led to the founding of Loaves & Fishes.

Loaves & Fishes was founded in 1991 and has been acting as a bridge between those places with surplus food and those places that need that food. They have four refrigerated trucks, work with 110 partner agencies, and have an army of 300+ volunteers to ensure no good food goes to waste. 

Loaves & Fishes is not a food bank (this is a list of food resources in our area). They don’t store any food in their small office but can take food donations, which will go to those in need. But they make a huge difference in the community struggling with food insecurity. Last year, they rescued more than 2.7 million pounds of food.

Becoming a Food Rescuer with Loaves & Fishes 

It’s an easy job and anyone with a car can do it! You will choose a route from the weekly email from Loaves & Fishes, which will tell you where to pick up food and where to drop it off. 

Most of the places you’ll be picking up from are grocery stores like Publix, Lowes, and Food Lion. When we did our first route, we picked up from Publix. It was super easy – we just headed to the back of the store and told them we were from Loaves & Fishes. 

Publix has a log that you sign when you pick up the food so we signed that and they had our boxes ready to go. We packed them in the car and headed off to drop them off. 

Our destination was the Greer Community Ministries. The ladies were so kind there and had carts ready to help us unload all the goodies. It took only a few minutes to unload. Super easy. My kids helped with both loading and unloading so it didn’t take long. 

Keep track of what you pick up since you’ll need to enter it into a database that Loaves & Fishes has to keep an account of how many pounds of food they rescue and deliver each year.

Our route took about an hour total starting from our house to Publix to Greer Community Ministries and back. Loaves & Fishes tries to match the places donating to drop off locations nearby if they can. 

How to Become a Volunteer with Loaves & Fishes 

If you want to volunteer with Loaves & Fishes, fill out the volunteer form on their website. After that, you’ll be given dates to choose from to attend the 45-minute long Volunteer Orientation. This is super important as you’ll get all the helpful information you need to be a successful food rescuer. 

You can sign up for a route to do every week or just do them as you are able.

Families are welcome to volunteer together. There is no age limit

If you want to become a partner agency with Loaves & Fishes or run a non profit and want to learn more about working with them, information is on their FAQ page on the website.

Loaves & Fishes 
25 Woods Lake Road, Suite 810 Greenville

Volunteering in Greenville

Looking for more ways to volunteer?
We have a guide for that.

The Kidding Around Guide to Volunteering in Greenville, SC

About the Author
Kristina Hernandez is a mom of two girls, freelance writer and photographer. Originally from New Jersey, she is in love with the Upstate and could not imagine raising her kids anywhere else. She enjoys hiking to waterfalls, kayaking, camping, cooking, and exploring all that Greenville has to offer. And she really loves baby goats. Follow her on Instagram at @scadventurer.

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