Inside Gleaners Food Bank’s 300,000 square foot warehouse on the city’s southside, Bernanrd Mickle is at the head of an assembly line putting bowls of microwavable ravioli and chicken and dumplings into plastic bags.
The items will go to children across Indianapolis.
Mickle says he woke up early to help out, because he knows firsthand the impact of what volunteer efforts can mean to a family.
"For myself, it's more of not forgetting where I came from and growing up knowing that I also had a need and I needed someone to provide for me," he said. "So, as I got older, it's something that I feel is a need for everyone to do."
Mickle is one of the people volunteering on projects across the city for the second annual Mayor’s Day of Recognition for National Service.
He points to the work as a concrete example of one of his life mottos.
"I grew up on the 'each one, teach one. Each one, reach one,'" he said. "I feel that by service, that's the best way to possibly uplift other."
The work of these volunteers helps organizations such as Gleaners expand its reach.
Gleaners serves 21 counties where almost 15 percent of residents don’t have consistent access to food.
And by having volunteers, the organization saves about $1.5 million a year for programs and services.
Chief Advancement Officer David Moore says that’s why their efforts are so significant.
"We're very grateful," he said. "When someone donates their time, then the benefit is back to the community, but also to the volunteer."
More than 1,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps members are taking part in projects around the city.
Dipa Patel is another volunteer lending a hand at Gleaners.
The 24-year-old, Indianapolis resident says there is something special about that type of collaboration.
"I think it is a really good energy and it's a really positive outlook on how we can help other people out and help out our communities that we really care about," said Patel. "We're all young people who just want to give back to our communities and make them a better place for everybody else."
CEO of The Corporation for National and Community Service, Wendy Spencer, told volunteers at Gleaners that their efforts are transforming communities and lives.
"If you are hungry, you can't be a productive citizen, a productive student in the classroom. You can't focus on anything really," she said. "These are important issues and you are addressing them. You could be doing anything right now, but you are serving our country."
U.S. Mayors in 1,760 cities participated in the day of service, including Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard who recognized the local volunteers with a lunch at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.