OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Harvesters, a community food network based in Kansas City, Missouri, keeps food pantries and banks across the region stocked and ready to serve those in need. And a network of volunteers keeps Harvesters running.
“I like seeing the people and meeting the people, but I really feel like we do something special here,” Richard Wood said.
A retired high school math teacher, Wood began volunteering at Harvesters when he left the classroom. Five days a month, he runs the “shopping floor” at Harvesters. The shopping floor allows food banks to shop for produce and nonperishable items they think their clients would like.
“It’s fun, it’s just like going shopping only you know you’re helping people who really need it,” said Steve Caffey, who helps run the food pantry at Abundant Life Church in Lee’s Summit.
He said the church saw need for food nearly double during the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s thankful places like Harvesters can help his food pantry meet demand.
Wood is part of the reason Harvesters keeps up with demand. He spends days sorting, weighing, documenting, guiding and more.
“A lot of the agencies that come in will say thanks to us for being here and that type of thing,” he said. “But we try to say, ‘Thank you,’ to them because they’re the ones that are actually making the contact with people [in need].”
Harvesters’ website has information about its many available volunteer opportunities.