Driving back from a hearing in Raleigh one January morning, North Carolina Business Court Judge Michael Robinson and Term Law Clerk Sabrina Greer struck up a conversation about how they might give back to the community through volunteering. As luck would have it, their route took them past the Second Harvest Food Bank’s warehouse in Winston-Salem. Given its proximity to the North Carolina Business Court’s chambers, the two decided that the Food Bank would be a worthy place for the Business Court team to volunteer using their community service leave hours. Community Service Leave is credited to Judicial Branch employees in positions eligible to accrue leave in recognition of both the State’s diverse needs for volunteers to support schools, communities, citizens, and non-profit organizations, and the commitment of Judicial Branch employees to engage in child involvement and volunteer service.
Volunteering connects us to the places we live and reminds us how fortunate we are. Plus, a change of scenery keeps us refreshed during our workweek.
The Business Court team, which includes Judge Robinson, Court Coordinator Sharon Turner, Term Law Clerks Greer and Ryan Dovel, and Staff Law Clerk Nina Poe, signed up to volunteer for two shifts to sort food at the Second Harvest Foodbank warehouse in January this year. Second Harvest receives an abundance of donations from local grocery stores and community food drives. In fact, approximately 50 tons of food are moved each day by Second Harvest. The Business Court team’s job was to sort and inspect donated food items to ensure that it was safe to eat. Once the team sorted and inspected the food, they placed it in boxes to be given out at Second Harvest’s bi-weekly community food distribution events.
“We learned that the Food Bank can’t give out any type of soft flour tortilla shells or dented canned goods, so think twice before you donate those in your next food drive,” said Judge Robinson. “Instead, consider donating things like oatmeal, dry pastas, and rice.” After 7 hours of work at the Food Bank, the team filled close to six pallets — over 200 boxes — of non-perishable food for people in need.
Judge Robinson says the Business Court plans to return to Second Harvest to work in their community meal kitchen, where volunteers prepare nutritious meals for children, seniors, and people living with disabilities and box them up for delivery in the community. “One great aspect of this was meeting and working alongside other folks in the community who also volunteered that day,” said Judge Robinson. “We intend to volunteer with other organizations in our community, as well.”