April is National Volunteer Month – the perfect time to spotlight our absolutely amazing volunteers! Last year alone, we were grateful to have more than 25,000 individual volunteers support the Food Bank with their time – we wouldn’t accomplish nearly as much without their support! To celebrate National Volunteer Month, we sat down for a brief Q&A with just a handful of our regular volunteers: Ade, Bruce, Deb, Gwen, Ken, Marlene, Phyllis, and Stuart. Check out what they have to say!
Deb: Hearing Julie Yurko on WGN asking for volunteers… I went the same day and talked to Janie.
Gwen: I retired and wanted to find something to do with my new free time.
Ken: I used to work for AT&T – they had a monthly volunteer shift, and I came with them a lot. The AT&T spots filled up quickly, so I decided to start coming on my own at nights with my wife and kids.
Ade: I started in 1996. I’m going on 21 years of volunteering here.
Bruce: About three years.
Phyllis: I think it’s been eight years, going on nine.
Ken: I have been a snack packer for the last couple of years. I have done it all – the processing room, holiday meals, senior meals, mobile pantries, meat, etc.
Marlene: I am back in the evaluation room, checking all the dates and packages to make sure they are okay.
Deb: I help the Events team and Individual Giving team. I do the seasonal decorations. My background is in interior design – I have a very organized mind, and enjoy setting up systems, so anything like, that I’ll do.
Gwen: My favorite part, next to seeing the impact we make each time we volunteer, is meeting all the new people we volunteer alongside.
Stuart: Giving back to the community. Fortunately, I retired early. And I still have my health, so why can’t I give back? My favorite volunteer program at the Food Bank is the Senior Grocery Market. The people that visit the market are elderly and on a fixed income. A lot of them may have to choose between rent and mortgage or food and medicine. When we can help them out by giving them some food, I believe that is probably the most important program currently at the Food Bank that I help out with.
Phyllis: I love to read. Anything that involves my grandchildren – I try to get out to their activities. I joined up with four senior centers in my area, and we play cards. I like shopping, too.
Marlene: Gardening, reading, putting puzzles together, and Solitaire on my computer.
Bruce: The Score Association – we mentor small businesses.
Ade: I really like to play pool.
Stuart: When I have the time, I like to travel. I’ve been to China a few times, Europe, Mexico, and Canada. I’d like to travel more in my spare time. My background is in engineering, so I also enjoy using some of those skills in other things I do.
For the full interviews with each of our volunteers, click on their names at the top of the page.
If you are a current volunteer, make sure to keep an eye on your email for more information about upcoming events to celebrate YOU during National Volunteer Month!
The Food Bank is always looking for volunteers to help sort and pack donated food at one of our centers located in Geneva, Rockford, and Park City. This spring, our fourth center will be opening in Joliet to better serve our southern counties. You can register online to volunteer at any of these four locations, or call the Food Bank to register groups of 20+ at 630-443-6910.
To learn about the different kinds of volunteer opportunities at the Food Bank – such as direct-service, skills-based volunteering, and the VolunTeen Leadership Program – visit SolveHungerToday.org/Volunteer.