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Supermarket Workers Volunteer Behind the Boxes

Local supermarkets are volunteering their time at Second Harvest to see how their donations impact the area.
(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The volunteers are spending the day behind the boxes at Harvest House to experience first-hand what it means to fight hunger.

The Harvest House food pantry at Second Harvest can serve up to 7,500 people in a month.

Those who qualify, shop at the Harvest House once a week.

Now, grocery store employees in St. Joseph have taken a day off from work to see what it's like to be behind the boxes.

"It brings to our attention the need that is here in St. Joe. For so many people that don't have a lot of the things that all of us enjoy everyday, it kind of opens our eyes up to that," said Ray Heitman, owner of Green Hills.

Second Harvest covers nineteen counties in northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas.

They host a Behind the Boxes event every quarter to help involve the community in the fight against hunger.

"They are getting to meet all of our community members that come and receive services from Second Harvest, and a lot of the products that those community members are receiving today came right out of their own stores," said Tamara Grubb, Chief Operating Officer at Second Harvest.

"It's a great opportunity for us to really get hands on and see what goes on at Second Harvest," said Heitman.

Ray Heitman has been in the grocery industry for almost 40 years.

He has seen the direct effect of rising food prices in the community.

"The increase in price of food and other commodities, it does have an effect on folks and what they were once able to enjoy, they can't do that so much anymore," said Heitman.

The grocery store volunteers served about 200 households within three hours.

"They're seeing the direct benefit of their donations to Second Harvest," said Grubb.

Second Harvest strives to offer healthy, nutritious food to the 52,000 individuals where hunger is a reality.

As a nonprofit agency, Second Harvest relies heavily on volunteers, and this year they have already clocked 10,000 volunteer hours.
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