National Volunteer Month – April 2021
For over 40 years, Maryland Food Bank volunteers have played key roles in our ability to provide food assistance to our food-insecure neighbors. This National Volunteer Month, we recognize the importance of these committed individuals who have selflessly donated their time and effort to help glean fields, sort and pack food, prepare meals, and assist our Network Partners and our office staff, among other duties.
Since COVID emerged, our volunteers have stepped up in major ways, joining us on the front lines to ensure our neighbors have food during this challenging time. We are especially thankful for these loyal volunteers who have made it possible for MFB to double our distribution efforts in response to the increased need from an ever-increasing number of Marylanders seeking assistance. Volunteers are the backbone of the Maryland Food Bank.
In Their Own Words
“No one plans to be food insecure; it could happen to any of us at any time. There’s a need and I’m able to help out, and it’s very rewarding to know I’m doing a small part in helping my fellow Marylanders.”
“By coming every Tuesday I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of the Maryland Food Bank partners. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the people that are so dedicated to getting food to those who need it.”
“Volunteering gives me purpose. I know there’s a real need out there. People need to eat and they need to have good food. There’s a lot of things you can overcome if you have a full belly. It’s a basic need and I’m glad I can do something to help people meet that need.”
“The whole world is ugly right now – not just the pandemic, but the political and social world too. And this is a form of trying to put some good back into the world, despite all those other things. You look at the news and it’s so overwhelming. I wondered, ‘how can I help those people?’ This is the best avenue I have.”
“There is a lot of assistance we can provide at the front desk before we pass a call on to another person. Just hearing the gratitude of people when you help them find a pantry is very rewarding.”
“Knowing that I could be a part of helping alleviate someone’s hunger even for a day is very rewarding. Sometimes my family would go out for an hour and only be able to pick 13 baskets of cucumbers, and we would say, ‘sorry we could only pick 13.’ But Amy would respond ‘that’s 13 more than if you didn’t come out.’ I love the attitude that every little bit helps.”
“People would come up to the table and say, ‘you guys provide food to my food pantry’ or ‘you’re where we get a lot of our pet food for the animal shelter’. I enjoy meeting the people that hand out the food and witnessing their dedication to doing that job.”
“You want to feel like whatever you’re doing is useful and worth your time and I know what I’m doing right now, here in the kitchen, is directly impacting people, which makes me feel really good and keeps me coming back.”
“You meet wonderful people here. My mother said, ‘always surround yourself with good people,’ and that’s what I find here.”
MFB’s Volunteer Coordinator, Paul Lynner, is one of the first people our volunteers meet when arriving at the food bank. Working diligently to schedule volunteer shifts at a time where many were initially apprehensive to venture out of their homes, Paul can attest to the dedication our volunteers have displayed in serving their community amid the pandemic.
In this video, Paul shares his journey from a volunteer himself to becoming the volunteer coordinator and discusses the essential role our new and existing volunteers have played during these unprecedented times.
For more information about our Volunteer Program and to join this dedicated group of volunteers, please visit our volunteer page.
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