Volunteering can be an individual effort. A simple gift of one’s time that provides much needed help to those facing struggles in life. It can be a rewarding experience that allows you set aside the challenges in your life for a few short hours, while turning your heart and mind to others. It is a priceless experience. But when you share this experience with others, the rewards multiply.
During the pandemic, a group of four women from a local travel company decided to lend a hand at Food Lifeline. Today, their short-term commitment, has become a long-term passion.
“We work at Rick Steve’s’ Europe, and during the pandemic, our business really slowed down”, says Carrie Shepherd. “So, we were all encouraged to volunteer.”
Co -workers Suzanne Kotz, Megan Sims, Cathy Lu and Carrie began volunteering at one of Food Lifeline’s mobile food distributions at North Seattle Community College.
“We really wanted to work outside during the pandemic, and when that opportunity came up, we started doing that every Tuesday”, says Carrie.
The weekly volunteer distributions not only gave the women a powerful opportunity to help others, it helped keep the team connected when remote work became a way of life.
“Part of what was attractive about being at the North Seattle distribution site was that we actually got to do something together”, says Suzanne Kotz. “We’re all work colleagues, we’re used to seeing each other all the time, so it was kind of a way to stay connected throughout the pandemic, since we were only meeting virtually.”
When the public distributions wrapped up, the team wasn’t quite ready to call it a day. With the help of the Food Lifeline volunteer staff, the team found a new challenge.
Today, Suzanne, Megan, Carrie, and Cathy are still on the same team, but they have a new moniker, a new location, and a new mission.
“We’re the egg team”, says Megan, with an enthusiasm that would make even a 12th man blush.
Every week, the team huddles at the Hunger Solution Center for a session of sorting and repacking surplus eggs for Food Lifeline’s more than 350 food bank partners. Since they began this new mission, they have sorted and repacked more than 4,000 pounds of these important proteins. In total, they have helped provide more than 43,000 eggs to people and families facing food insecurity. And that is no yolk! (apologies to the esteemed reader).
Working in Food Lifeline’s warehouse has given the team a new perspective on just how much impact their work can have.
“Well, you know, when you’re here you get out of your own bubble a little bit and realize there would be a tremendous amount of food waste if we weren’t in here sorting it all”, says Suzanne. “And here you are getting it out to people who need to eat…it’s extraordinary to me how much we can contribute here.”
Now they want to spread the word.
“I’ve been encouraging other people to do it”, says Carrie.” It’s easy, it’s fun, and it doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment.”
Food Lifeline continues to grow its volunteering opportunities to meet the needs of the people and families we serve, as well as our volunteers that give so kindly of their time. If you would like to join our movement to end hunger, please visit www.foodlifeline.org/volunteer and sign up for one our many sessions throughout every week.