In 2009, over 5 million households in the United States accessed emergency food from a local food pantry [source: Feeding America]. Organizations like Feeding America provide free, healthy meals for over 37 million Americans each year, and the overwhelming majority of the people who work at community food pantries and soup kitchens are volunteers.
By volunteering at a food pantry, you ensure that poverty -- which afflicts more than 14 percent of U.S. households -- doesn't compromise the physical and mental health of children and their families [source: Feeding America]. Food pantry volunteers sort and shelve donated goods and deliver food to charitable agencies in the community. Volunteers can work directly with community members or behind the scenes as office managers and clerical workers.
Soup kitchens are a wonderful volunteer opportunity for baby boomers who are experienced home cooks and food lovers. Here's a chance to share your passion and your gifts with people who are going through hard times. Your delicious, healthy food can and will lift their spirits. If you don't know a chef's knife from a potato peeler, you can still help stock supplies in the kitchen, serve meals to patrons and clean up at night.