This May, Second Harvest Food Bank is highlighting one of our regular volunteers from our Smyrna Distribution Center in Rutherford County.
When did you start volunteering with Second Harvest?
I began volunteering with Second Harvest in August 2019 after seeing a truck with the Second Harvest logo at a GraceWorks mobile food drive. While volunteering that day, I had the opportunity to chat with an employee of Second Harvest who was also volunteering. He told me about the mission of Second Harvest and the three locations serving middle Tennessee. I decided to check out the location closest to my home, and the rest is history!
What is your favorite volunteer opportunity?
I enjoy the warehouse work at Second Harvest whether it’s food sorting, food box assembly, or a special project. For me it’s more about the team of volunteers than the actual work being done. As long as I am working with other volunteers who are also there to truly make a difference, I’m happy. It can sometimes be hard work, but it’s always time well spent because you know your actions are very tangibly helping people in our state and sometimes beyond.
Describe your favorite volunteer memory?
I have had the opportunity to get to know other regular volunteers at the Smyrna location, and they are some really great people with big hearts. A couple of them had to move to another state for a job change, but after talking with Stephanie, the Volunteer Coordinator in Smyrna, we agreed that we wanted to give Barry and Samantha a proper Second Harvest volunteer sendoff. So, Stephanie coordinated a pot luck lunch for them followed by a special volunteer session. We had a great showing of regular volunteers to visit with, share a meal with, and volunteer with Barry and Samantha one last time showing them just how much they are valued and cared about as individuals.
Why it is important for you to volunteer?
Sometimes the busyness of life can keep us from realizing that there is a world outside of our “personal bubble”. Volunteering is a way to get outside yourself and help someone else. It not only tangibly helps the recipient but also the volunteer. You feel happy when you give; you often feel less stress in your own life when you give. I believe there are seasons in life where you are or are not available to volunteer. By volunteering our time when we can, it gives others the freedom to give in other ways that may suit their season of life (perhaps financially) while knowing that recipients are still being helped.
Is there anything else you would like people to know about Second Harvest?
Second Harvest is well organized and goal oriented. It frustrates me to walk into a place to volunteer and that place hasn’t yet figured out how to utilize the volunteers, causing idle time to pass. Well, I’ve never had that experience at Second Harvest. It’s clear that Second Harvest not only cares about the people they serve but also the volunteers, and that is demonstrated by being ready to utilize volunteers when they arrive and valuing their time. It’s one of the reasons why I keep coming back to Second Harvest to volunteer!