Julie Melton is the Director of Marketing & Development for the Eastern Illinois Foodbank. After working for various nonprofit organization across Champaign-Urbana, she has found her true passion working for the Foodbank. She earned her Masters in Nonprofit Administration last year, however even with all of her free time (HA!) life is still as fast-paced as ever. She lives in Monticello with her husband, Seth and two girls – Madelyn (5) and Avery (2). As her daughters have gotten older, she has become increasingly aware of the importance of educating them on social issues in our community. For this reason, she and the staff at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank have created the first ever Kid’s Day. Scheduled for Saturday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to noon, kids ages 5-13 (accompanied by a parent or guardian) are invited to tour the Foodbank warehouse and participate in an age-appropriate food sorting project.
Because of her passion for helping others in our community, we think Julie is a Mom to Know. Julie answers our questions about the importance of volunteering in C-U, and how we can volunteer as a family.
We have a lot of readers looking for someplace to volunteer as as family in C-U. Tell us more about your organization.
There are 33,000 children in eastern Illinois that visit Eastern Illinois Foodbank’s pantries and soup kitchen annually. This means that in your child’s classroom, approximately five children are food insecure – meaning that they do not know where their next meal in coming from. Talking to kids about hunger may be a hard concept for them to grasp. Volunteering is such a great way to educate kids about social issues in our community and in their class. By coming to the Eastern Illinois Foodbank warehouse they can really get a visual of what the Foodbank does and how it can impact another child. Additionally by volunteering it provides them with a tangible idea of the product they are sorting will actually be given to a family that needs it. Volunteering is such a feel good activity and to be able to share that with your child is such a powerful thing!
Why do you limit the number of children able to volunteer/ why can’t we just pop in to help when we want?
The Eastern Illinois Foodbank, first and foremost, wants to protect the safety of our volunteers, but additionally we must adhere to food safety guidelines. We must ensure that food is sorted in a “clean room” and all of the proper precautions are taken to make sure individuals receive safe food from the Foodbank. For this reason, Kid’s Day is limited to 30 individual (our maximum capacity in the “clean room”).
What ages can volunteer at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank?
For Kids Day, we are welcoming kids ages 5-13 with a parent or guardian. Activities will be geared to this age group. Our regular volunteer repacking (normally scheduled on Tuesdays & Thursday from 5:30-7:30pm) is open to children 10 and up. However, kids ages 10-13 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
I want to find a place where my family can volunteer, can I do this at EIF?
We have created Kid’s Day specifically for families who would like to volunteer together. By scheduling these on a Saturday morning, we hope that entire families will be able to share the experience together.
How can my family make a difference at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank?
Understanding hunger and how affects so many individuals in our community is a great first step. However, if you really want to get more and involved and give back I encourage families to give either foods or funds to the Foodbank. In reality, money has a bigger impact because we can acquire $10 worth of food with just a $1 donation. And truthfully, as busy as we are, sometimes it is easier to just write a check! However, for kids, I personally believe that collecting food provides a bigger impact for their young minds. By collecting food, children get a true sense of how that food donation will actually benefit a another person.
Since we have received such a great response by scheduling our first Kid’s Day, we are planning additional Kid’s Days on Tueday, October 29th from 5:30-7:30pm (wear your Halloween costume) and on Saturday, November 9th from 10am-Noon AND 2-4pm to help us kick off Food for Families! As of now, these are limited to kids ages 5-13, but this may change if there is interest.
How do I sign-up my family up for Kid’s Day at the Eastern Illinois Foodbank?
Space is very limited, so email us at email@example.com and let us know which Kid’s Day you are interested in attending and how many adults & children (along with ages) that plan to attend.
Volunteering is a wonderful way for kids to learn about the Eastern Illinois Foodbank and the issue of hunger. During Kid’s Day at the Foodbank – September 28, 10 a.m. to noon, kids ages 5-13 (accompanied by a parent or guardian) will tour our warehouse and participate in an age-appropriate food sorting project. Kids Day is a great opportunity for families and groups of all sizes! Space is limited. For more information contact Julie at 328-3663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.