By Eva Pacheco, Human Resources Director at  Ace Hotel & Swim Club, Palm Springs, CA

FIND Food Bank (Food In Need Of Distribution) has been in operation since 1983 and provides education, and food services to those in need across the entire Coachella Valley, California.

Participants recently had the opportunity to meet with volunteer and Chairperson of FIND Food Bank, Gwen Ford, who gave a tour of the entire warehouse and an overview of the daily operations. She explained where food donations come from, how they are stored, sorted and distributed. She also educated the participants about the food needs of our community. The participants were under the impression that only the homeless were in need of food, but they learned that a staggering 45% of those in need are children. They also learned about the term “Food Insecure”, which describes a condition where people do not have, at all times, the physical and/or economic access to adequate amounts of nutritious, safe, culturally appropriate foods – even though they may have jobs, homes and families.

We spent the morning sorting through food donations and preparing the food for distribution. The employees and volunteers at FIND had a wonderful time with the participants and complimented them about their work ethic and inquisitiveness. It was fascinating to find out that the participants were not familiar with Food Banks and were not aware of any in existence in the Philippines. When asked what they do when they find out a neighbor is in need, they responded “we just help them.” We spent some time talking about about the importance of being aware of your community needs and how they can keep that culture alive and well in the Philippines.

The participants learned a lot as they gave back to their new community in Palm Springs – they even shared a few tunes while they were hanging out (click here to see the video!).