A group from the firm I work for (Paul Hastings) got together and volunteered at the Houston Food Bank the other day. I’ve never been, but heard a lot about the place, so I wanted to participate. Its fun to be able to see how different organizations operate and the Houston Food Bank is a well oiled machine. I drove up to their location at 535 Portwall St., just east of Downtown Houston. My expectations were pretty low because when I think of a “food pantry” or a warehouse, I’m thinking of a dingy box building where there are not many employees or they don’t have the budget to get things done efficiently, so they just make do with what they have… I was totally wrong.The place is beautifully designed. Beyond the aesthetics of building, it seemed to be run very smoothly and they had a ton of equipment to make our jobs very easy. Upon entering, I was greeted by a few employees/volunteers that asked me to scan my badge. On a side note, before actually coming to volunteer, you fill out a form online and print out a reusable badge. Then I sat in a waiting area that felt kind of like the cafeteria you’d see in Ikea. Very spacious and clean with a bunch of little tables and chairs. The walls were covered with cool little design features that reflected the organization’s goals of feeding the hungry. After a short wait, an employee gathered a few of us up and brought us to the back where we sorted through the incoming donated food. Boxes upon boxes of food. I’ve never seen so many cans of tomato sauce. We were in the mix of other individuals, groups and organizations. It was cool to be able to work along side others and make small talk. At the end of it all, we ended up sorting through more than 7,000lbs of food. When our group was walking out one of the volunteers that came by herself wanted to snap a picture with us. So we obliged.I wish I took more pictures while inside the facility to give you a better feel of how awesome this place really is… but since I didn’t, I guess you should go out and volunteer to see for yourself! If you do, call me, I’d love to join ya!