Erin Yoshida was inspired to get more involved in volunteering with Food Lifeline by her son. She is now part of the Production Corps, coming in every Saturday. She took some time to sit down and chat with David Jefferson, our Marketing & Communications Strategist, to discuss how volunteering serves as a way for her to give back and make a positive impact on her community.
DJ: Hi, Erin! Thanks so much for speaking with me today, and thanks for all that you do in your role as a member of our Production Corps! To start things off, can you tell me how long you’ve been volunteering with Food Lifeline?
EY: I started volunteering, on and off, when my son needed Honor Society hours. So, I’m not exactly sure when I first started volunteering, but it definitely pre-dates the pandemic. When things started to open up again, my son decided to come back in to volunteer. His love for volunteering here at Food Lifeline inspired me! I decided that since I wasn’t working, I was going to volunteer, you know, just to do something and be a productive member of society. So, I came once a week starting in September of 2021.
DJ: That’s awesome, Erin! Sounds like volunteering together is a really fun opportunity for you and your son to bond! Besides his involvement, what initially made you interested in volunteering with us?
EY: I think I’ve always felt like food is, you know, it’s obviously a basic necessity. So, of all the organizations that you could contribute to, I felt like Food Lifeline was an organization that would touch many people in many communities. The pandemic highlighted for me and for a lot of people, I think, just how many people in our country struggle each and every day with accessing food. I even began to think that it could even be a possibility that some of my son’s classmates or peers could also be struggling, and that really brought things close to home for me. Just the thought of anyone struggling with having food upsets me, and I was motivated to help do something about it.
DJ: Wow, thanks for sharing, Erin. I was actually a substitute teacher in a past life…hahaha…but, it really boggled my mind to see just how many kids depend on school meals as their only sort of sustenance for the entire day. It really makes no sense, and everyone should be totally outraged.
EY: Right! And I live on the east side of Washington and not everywhere has the same number of resources as here in Seattle. So, if this many people are struggling where there are an abundance of resources, then think about the people who are barely getting by with limited resources and limited help. This issue touches everyone; we all need food to survive.
DJ: Does your son enjoy volunteering?
EY: He likes it a lot! He’s been helping me kind of be a pseudo production core member. So, I think he likes that and getting to know both Kennedy and Harmoni, who are usually here when we volunteer on Saturdays.
DJ: That’s awesome! Yeah, our Volunteer Production team are absolutely phenomenal! What made you interested in joining Production Corps?
EY: Kevin (on the Volunteer Production team)! I was always looking for extra things to do if something else was available or if there was any more help needed somewhere. Eventually, I just started staying late and taking on extra jobs and responsibilities. I was a little worried at first that it wouldn’t work out because I was looking for a job at the time, and I just wasn’t sure if the timing of it all would work out for me to do this. I started out on Monday mornings and did that for about six months. Once I got a regular Monday-Friday job, I moved to Saturdays.
DJ: I’m really glad things worked out to where you could still come and volunteer with us! We really are so lucky to have you and your son as part of our Food Lifeline family. Okay, Erin, one more question for you. Why do you think it’s so important for people to come here and volunteer?
EY: I think just in general, it’s important to give back. So that’s, you know, one of the reasons that I wanted to do it. Again, access to food is such a fundamental and necessary thing for all of us; people need food…it is a human right! And so, I think everybody can give and should give a little time out of their spare time to come and make a positive impact on people. The work that we all are doing here is so important. I mean, ending hunger in all of Western Washington. That is not an easy goal, and it really is going to take the effort of a lot of people. The thought of one person going without food should make everyone want to jump into action and do something about it. That’s why I’m glad to be here.
DJ: Thanks so much for your time, Erin. I really appreciate our conversation today.
EY: Thank you, David!