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It’s 8 a.m. on Monday, January 17 and more than 150 Shell employees are ready to work.

But on this special holiday commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, they’re stepping out of their regular jobs in the energy industry to provide the energy the Houston Food Bank needs to feed thousands of families.

They’ll spend the next eight hours assisting operations at the food bank’s massive warehouse, sorting and packing food items for distribution to more than 400 agencies that feed the hungry.

To do that, it takes volunteers 

More than 200 a day, says Venniece Robbins, director of the food bank’s Volunteer Services. And she can always count on Shell to fill a need, whether volunteers are sorting and packing food on MLK Day or participating in several food drives throughout the year.

“Shell helps in two ways: by providing treasure and time. Over the past 28 years, Shell has donated over $1 million dollars and thousands of volunteers have provided more than 7,000 hours of service to support our efforts. That means hundreds of thousand of people have been fed in our community,” Robbins says.

Robbins says most of her volunteers share two things about the experience in volunteering at the Houston Food Bank. “First, they say thank you for giving us the opportunity to be of service. The second thing they always ask is if they can come again.”

Heeding the call

The Houston Food Bank is the largest distributor of free and low-cost food in the State of Texas, feeding more than 147,000 people across an 18-county service area ever week.

For Shell employees, that is a given.

Shell Paralegal Kim Nelson has been volunteering at the Houston Food Bank for more than five years. Several years ago, her two teenagers, Kristen and Zach, got involved. “I enjoy doing this and feel a sense of accomplishment,” she says.

“It’s a lot of fun and it feels good to give back t the community. Those less fortunate than us need help, so I’ll probably be doing this a long time,” says her son, Zach, a Texas A&M University student.

Debra Dunbar agrees. “I like volunteering because it’s about helping one another,” says the Shell Exploration & Production geophysical technician. Shell is a company that likes to give back and they offer a lot of volunteer opportunities to us and we tend to take advantage of them. It’s just a good thing to do.”