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University of Michigan-Flint students volunteer at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan

As a Flint native, University of Michigan-Flint student Brooklyn Golden knows the importance of giving back to the community.

“It’s very important to support the community,” Golden said. “Flint needs a lot of support, so it is really good to see people staying here and being involved.”

Golden is a junior at UM-Flint majoring in elementary education with a minor in early childhood education. She and about 12 other students from the UM-Flint Black Student Union volunteered at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan on Feb. 23.

“It is part of the mission of the Black Student Union to volunteer in the community,” Golden said. “We do it every month, and this month decided to pick the Food Bank.”

The students worked in the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan’s Hunger Solution Center for three hours. Volunteers in the Hunger Solution Center are tasked with sorting donated food to get it ready for distribution to more than 400 agencies that the Food Bank serves in 22 counties in eastern Michigan. Tasks include sorting food by item type and also making sure there aren’t expired or damaged items among the food being packed for shipments.

“We had a really good system, working together,” Golden said. “The Food Bank staff is friendly, and it is a comfortable place to volunteer.”

Volunteer shifts are available at the Food Bank Monday-Saturday, and University of Michigan-Flint student groups are regular supporters throughout the year.

“We love working with college students,” said Keri Brack, volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan. “UM-Flint is one of the best organizations at sending us volunteers, and their students are dependable and great to work with. We wouldn’t be able to provide food to people in need without our volunteers. We are grateful to UM-Flint and UM-Flint students for always being willing to volunteer support of the community.”

On Saturday, there were approximately 60 total volunteers at the Food Bank including the UM-Flint students. Collectively, they sorted enough food to provide meals for 55,000 people in Michigan. Each volunteer sorts enough food for approximately 335 people per hour during a shift. Golden noted the importance of students finding time to be involved in Flint.

“Even though you’re busy or tired, even if you can come for an hour, your help is always needed no matter what,” she said.