By Heather Janssen

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A place known for the help they lend others is finding themselves in need now, too.

As he packs and unpacks each box of food, Rich Harrington hopes he makes someone’s day a little brighter.

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“When you see that look of sincere gratitude or appreciation,” Harrington said. “I don’t know that you can ask for anything more.”

The recipe to success: Harrington has volunteered at River City Food Bank for the last two months, preparing food for families in need.

“I can’t think of a better way to give back to those who may not have had much fortune or luck,” he said.

But the food bank has a need of its own, too – more people like Harrington.

“They are truly the lifeline of the work that we do,” Amanda McCarthy, the food bank’s executive director said.

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As the pandemic rages on, the number of volunteers has dropped. Many regular volunteers are older and more at-risk, so they’re staying home. Others may have returned to work, or are working through distance learning with kids at home.

“We need help more than ever,” McCarthy said. “It’s critical we have the help we need on a consistent basis.”

The food bank already has a lot on its plate. Between the pandemic and wildfires, more people are turning to them for assistance. The need has increased 30 percent as they serve more than 4,000 people per week.

“People are having to make these choices, these impossible choices,” McCarthy said. “Like buying food or paying rent, childcare – and no one should have to make those choices.”

People like Harrington hope others join in, too.

“Just doing what you can for the less fortunate is truly one of the gifts we can give back,” Harrington said.

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To sign up to volunteer, visit

Heather Janssen