It's Volunteer Appreciation Week! | Maryland Food Bank
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It’s Volunteer Appreciation Week!

April 12, 2015

Maryland Food Bank volunteers contributed more than 33,000 hours of service last year, so it’s no exaggeration that without their dedication, we couldn’t have distributed more than 100,000 meals a day to food-insecure Marylanders. This level of support for our mission saved nearly $850,000, money we then used to purchase food, implement programs, and reach more of those in need. In honor of Volunteer Appreciation Week, we asked some of the volunteers who give their time weekly to tell us why they keep coming back—we’re so grateful that they do.

Jeannie

We’ve known Jeannie for around five years, and for the past year she’s been coming weekly. She and the other regulars on her shift often think up competitions to motivate them to work faster. “We’re a little competitive on Thursdays,” she said.

“When I come back, I feel great! I text my kids every Thursday and say, ‘It’s food bank day, woo hoo!'”

Tony

Tony helps out on both Tuesdays and Thursdays, and as a former executive kitchen manager, he prefers working with food. “It’s just amazing, number one, that that much food comes in here, and number two, that Chef Manny has the wherewithal and the creativity and the knowledge to turn it into something that’s gonna feed people. I think it’s tremendous.”

“They serve anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 meals a day from this kitchen, and wow. I knew there were issues with people being fed but I didn’t know it was that serious.”

Ed & Anita

Ed and Anita became volunteers after seeing someone from their church in a T-shirt with the MFB logo. “It’s incredible the amount of food that moves through here,” said Ed. “And all of us are just a hair’s breadth away from being in that situation.”

“Every time I fill up and finish packing a box, it’s just such a feeling of accomplishment. You know that you’re really doing something worthwhile.” – Anita

George

George has been volunteering for just over a year, and he loves working in the kitchen. “We have fun,” he said. “In the kitchen, you get to see all of the different meals they create.”

“When my mom passed away, instead of flowers, she wanted people to donate to Bea Gaddy, the food pantry. My mom was always trying to help somebody, and she would say, ‘You know, look at people buying flowers, paying 30, 40 dollars—imagine what that could do for someone who’s hungry.'”

Richard

Richard learned about volunteering with MFB through an ad in the newspaper, and he’s now been a regular for two years. “I like it when there are enough people here that the belt really runs fast, and the boxes start piling up,” he said.

“I knew the food bank existed, but I was amazed when I first came out here and saw the scale of the operation. I mean, it’s enormous. Seeing it like this really makes you realize how great the need is.”

Ericka

After seeing the MFB volunteer opportunity in the weekly bulletin where she’s stationed at Fort Meade, Ericka has returned to help sort donations on the conveyor belt and prepare kits of ready-to-eat meals to sustain homeless students on weekends.

“Personally I used to be one of these kids. I would get my meals at school for the most part, and someone else would give me bag lunches just like this. It felt like it was my turn.”

Colette

This is Colette’s second year as a regular volunteer, though she’s been helping out for nearly five years through AARP, where she works and organizes a team for an annual day of service on September 11.

“I’ve been really fortunate on a day-to-day basis. Hunger doesn’t touch my life directly, but I grew up in New York City and lived in D.C. so I’ve had a lot of experience with people asking for money or looking for food. Giving my time here feels like the best way to make a difference.”

Wayne

Wayne taught technology education to high schoolers for 32 years, a class that started as woodworking and metal shop and evolved to cover computers, photography, and design. Many of his students were food insecure.

“Everybody didn’t come up the same. We can’t choose our parents, we can’t choose our environment. Some just need somebody to help them along the way, and that’s the kind of thing that I want to do now. Just give back.”

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