At just 13 years old, William is committed to volunteering in our product recovery warehouse. He understands that food is a basic need and that without it, it’s hard to accomplish anything else.
“Food is what literally helps us live. Without food we will die. I think we need to fix all these CO2 problems, government corruption, but without food we cannot do anything further,” William said. “First, we need to fix the simple things and then we can get to the larger things.”
Though it’s hard for him to volunteer on school nights, when he gets the chance during winter and summer breaks, he’ll spend full days and even full weeks helping out in product recovery.
It all began in the summer of 2017 when William joined his neighbors to volunteer at the Food Bank. It was an experience he wouldn’t forget.
“I thought it was really cool. I never thought I would see so much food in one space at once,” William said.
Since then, William has inspired his family to join him in the fight against hunger. It started as a fun activity for William and his dad, Xiaomin, but as they continued to volunteer, their commitment to make a difference grew stronger.
“I think initially we needed a lot of motivation, so I took him to see the community, to see what is going on,” Xiaomin said. “It is good when we come here. I still have a picture of him moving a box around. But it’s not about a photo op. It’s more that we feel like we have a direct impact on the community.”
Now, the duo signs up two months in advanced to volunteer on the weekends and they make an effort to volunteer during the week when they can.
“It’s that warm and fuzzy feeling… You come here every day and they say how many pounds and you feel satisfied. That you did something that made your day more meaningful,” William said.
For Xiaomin, volunteering at the Food Bank is a way to teach his son about food insecurity —something his son has never experienced, but he did growing up in the poor countryside of China. Xiaomin remembers that eating rice was very rare and that he ate corn. Meat was a delicacy reserved only for New Year’s.
“I want him participating in the community. I want him to know that just because we have no hard situations, that [volunteering] isn’t so trivial. It is a tremendous help for other people,” Xiaomin said.
With two years of volunteer experience and 185 combined total hours of service, the father-son team feels like they’re part of a family working together to fight hunger. They have worked every volunteer role in product recovery from inspecting to composting.
“We appreciate William and Xiaomin for volunteering and helping our team to continue to provide boxes of food for our clients. Their dedication to volunteer with us has made a positive impact on our clients and we are grateful for their support,” Product Recovery Manager Gabe Ornelas said.
William and Xiaomin, y’all make an incredible team. Thank you for your passion for fighting hunger and for making the time, especially on school nights, to help others!