JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – On Wednesday, April 25, nearly 300 CSX employees gathered at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena to participate in the first Second Harvest volunteer experience “On The Go.” The result was a high-intensity three-workout that produced enough ready-to-deliver food items for more than 86,000 meals.
To prepare for the event, Second Harvest transported more than 100,000 pounds of food into Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Tuesday afternoon – setting the stage for combining nearly two weeks’ worth of volunteer contribution into a single afternoon.
“This commitment from CSX was a real game-changer for us,” Second Harvest Executive Director Bruce Ganger said. “The work these 300 volunteers did in an afternoon would take almost two weeks to conclude through our normal daily volunteer routines. We can’t thank CSX and its employees enough for making such an impact. Thousands of families will quickly benefit from the work done today.”
CSX approached Second Harvest North Florida in March about a potential volunteer opportunity and community service project. The desire was for a CSX team of 300 employees to pair a town hall style meeting with a project benefitting the food bank.
Space and parking limitations at the Second Harvest warehouse on Jessie Street prevented the accommodation of such a large group. As a result, Second Harvest introduced the idea of delivering its volunteer experience to CSX as its chosen location.
In preparation for the event, Second Harvest transferred four tractor-trailer loads of food and packing resources to the arena. In addition, the food bank had 12 staff members on site to help coordinate the various projects, which included sorting food products, bagging produce, packaging items into meal boxes and preparing food bags for distribution.
The “On The Go” model is new for Second Harvest but is one it will duplicate for other large groups if asked, Ganger said. In 2011, more than 3,700 volunteers contributed more than 24,000 hours to Second Harvest – the equivalent of 12 full-time employees.