Written By: Laura Zillman
You come for the three and a half service hours on a Saturday morning, and you stay for the conversation, the clients, and the wonderful apple cider. That’s the Foggy Bottom Food Pantry, my absolute favorite place to serve with ESA.
I actually did two semesters’ worth of service learning and grant-writing at FBFP for my major
requirements, and I loved it! It was an invaluable opportunity to get to know the organization and the people behind it—and it showed me how even a small group of people can make a huge difference in the community.
FBFP was founded in 1981, making 2015 its thirty-fourth year of consistent operation. That’s pretty amazing in the nonprofit world, especially since they have always relied entirely on volunteers and a modest budget to fulfill their mission. That’s over five thousand volunteer hours annually!
Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, those dedicated volunteers (including us!) sort, distribute, and bag about six thousand pounds of food to some of the city’s most deserving residents.
Individuals are able to shop and chat with volunteers, and some quickly become regulars. The mornings fly by, and it’s nice to know that you’re fortunate to have made a tangible difference in someone else’s life before you’ve even eaten lunch.
Besides regular distributions, FBFP runs its Fall Sale each year. It was my first-ever service event as a pledge, and it’s still a favorite. An avid thrift shopper at home, I never really learned to justify Buffalo Exchange’s, er, “deals”. Fifty-cent vases and silverware by the handful is where it’s at, ladies.
So, bottom line? If you’re looking for an incredibly rewarding service experience right off-campus, give the Foggy Bottom Food Pantry a try. Amazing people, and cookies to boot—what more could you want?