Janine Richards has been volunteering with Food Lifeline for over a decade, and one of her favorite events of the year is Stamp Out Hunger. What may be considered a common food drive to some, Janine considers an opportunity to take care of impacted communities throughout Western Washington. She took some time to sit down and chat with David Jefferson, our Marketing & Communications Strategist, to discuss her passion and reasons for volunteering as well as why Stamp Out Hunger has a special place in her heart.
DJ: Hi, Janine! Thanks so much for taking time to speak with me today! My first question for you is how long have you been volunteering with food lifeline?
JR: It’s funny….I don’t exactly know. I would say at least 12 years. I’ve volunteered the whole time I’ve been at my current job plus during my previous job as well. So, I’ve been around for a while!
DJ: What got you interested in volunteering with Food Lifeline?
JR: Someone asked me to volunteer. When I went for the first time, I was pretty much hooked. I said, “Oh, this is great!” So, I’ve been a consistent and dedicated volunteer ever since then all those years ago. The reason I stay involved and stay coming back is because I really appreciate how Food Lifeline supports communities by both supplying food and funds to communities across Western Washington. I really think Food Lifeline is doing a lot of good out there in the world, and I’m happy to play a small part in that.
DJ: What about volunteering brings you joy or makes you feel good?
JR: You know….I feel blessed with my own personal situation and how I am doing financially. I know there’s so many people out there that don’t have that same security; some folks have to rely heavily on food banks and other types of help. In my situation, I feel like it’s important to give back and to try to help positively impact the lives of others.
DJ: Let’s talk a little bit about Stamp Out Hunger specifically. Why do you enjoy volunteering at this particular event?
JR: I love this event because I know how much it means for you all to receive this outstanding amount of food. You all are able to collect so much food through this one food drive, and it really is amazing to see how far this food goes. I love it so much that I even recruit my friends, family, and coworkers! We have a website at work where we can post volunteer opportunities for everyone in the company, and I post there! I typically get about two to four people from work and then folks from my previous job still love to volunteer with me. Before my sister passed, she loved to volunteer with me as well. I’ll take anybody I can grab….my best, friend, my niece…you name it!
It’s just a really important event, and I know how badly volunteers are needed because it’s a long day.
DJ: How do you convince people to come out and volunteer?
JR: Oh, I tell them how much I love Food Lifeline and you all are really doing such amazing work. The food from Stamp Out Hunger makes such a big difference for food banks in Western Washington, and you all need good volunteers to help make sure that people are fed. This work is important and just as importantly, it is so much fun. Volunteering for Food Lifeline really is a ton of fun.
DJ: Why do you think it is important for neighbors and community members to participate in Stamp Out Hunger?
JR: People need help. Our neighbors are in need of assistance, and I believe in neighbors supporting neighbors. Everybody loves to complain about this, that, and the other, but not everyone is willing to step up and do anything about it. Stamp Out Hunger is easy because you literally don’t even have to leave your house to participate and do some good. You just pack a bag of food, stick it in your mailbox, and then go along with your day as planned. If we want things to change, then we have to get up and do something to create that change.
DJ: Wonderfully said, Janine! Thanks so much for your time today and thank you so much for all that you do as a volunteer for Food Lifeline.
JR: No problem! Thanks, David!