Special post by Colleen Murphy, Second Harvest’s Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

Second Harvest held our first Family Sort on Saturday, May 19, and it’s safe to say the families had a great time.  Over the years we have had overwhelming requests from our donors and volunteers to have a food sort for families of all ages because we restrict regular volunteering opportunities to those 14 years and older. Parents have expressed a strong desire to teach their children the importance of giving back to those in need in our community. They also want the experience to be fun and shared with their kids.

After many months of planning the big day finally arrived. The theme we selected for the family sort was… Superheroes!

Superhero fruit welcomes our volunteers.

Families arrive and check-in with Food Bank staff.

Posing in front of the Second Harvest sign!

Once everyone checked in at our center in North San Jose, our young volunteers were asked to fill out a white board with their favorite superheroes. The children’s responses ran from superheroes out of the latest Hollywood blockbusters like Black Panther and Wonder Woman, to real life heroes like first responders! There were also photo opps for families to have some fun, while waiting for everyone to arrive.

Favorite heroes going on the board!

Totally fun!

Volunteers were welcomed by Cat Cvengros, our Vice President of Development and Marketing. Cat stood on a desk (she’s a trained professional) and thanked the families for helping provide fresh produce to almost 89,000 children in our community every month! Without our volunteers, our mission to feed our neighbors who need help would be impossible!

Cat welcomes the crowd.

Volunteer Manager David Saxton explained what everyone would be doing, went over the very important safety rules, and off the families went! In a 2 hour shift, our families sorted and boxed grapefruit, oranges and apples. A whopping 33,000 pounds of produce was the final total!

Way to Go Hunger Heroes!

Safety is very important at the Food Bank.

Did the kids have a good time? Turns out, sorting produce was fun, but hard work!

Volunteer Team Leader Steve Norris goes over sorting oranges.


Abby told me that she had fun sorting apples and learned what bruised and bad apples look like. She noted that “a bruised apple that doesn’t look good is still edible.” Makes sense to me – imperfect fruit can still be totally perfect to eat!

We sent a survey out to attending parents and will soon determine the next steps for hosting more of these fun days for families! Stay tuned! Good job everyone!