Laid-off worker regains hope by volunteering at OC food bank: 'People here are amazing'

As many families struggle to put food on the table, the Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County is holding community food distribution events through the help of more than 100 volunteers.

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Friday, July 3, 2020
Laid-off worker regains hope by volunteering at OC food bank
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A local man who found himself unemployed during the pandemic is now receiving food assistance through the Second Harvest Food Bank in Orange County, where he is also now a volunteer.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- As the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic continues and many people are out of work, the need for food is in high demand.

About 150 volunteers came together at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Orange County, for a community event put on by the Second Harvest Food Bank.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has basically got me unemployed. I was let go in April, first week of April. I'm one of many, obviously. So I'm currently looking for work and trying to make ends meet," said Stephen Reifenstein, a volunteer.

Reifenstein says volunteering for the food bank is his way of giving back. He initially found out about the organization, got the details about their next food bank event and was able to get a box of food for his family.

Since then, Reifenstein, who was very pleased with the Second Harvest Food Bank organization, began volunteering and enjoys being a part of what the food bank provides for the community.

"Quite frankly, we couldn't do this without people like Stephen. These volunteers, 125-150 every weekend, are the lifeblood of this pop-up distribution," said Claudia Keller, chief mission officer with Second Harvest Food Bank.

Reifenstein is a father of two young children.

"My five-year-old, she recognizes it's a virus. She know she has to wear a mask. And then, as far as the food goes - she understands that she's getting something because we also give some of it to our grandmother who's in need as well. So she's also learning the giving back feel as well," said Reifenstein.

The father-of-two says going to the food bank events is comfortable, he doesn't feel judged and has never felt embarrassed to attend.

"The people here are amazing that run this organization," said Reifenstein.

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