One of the main ingredients in the success of St. Louis Area Foodbank and the hundreds of food pantries we work with are the volunteers. We’re not aware of even one food bank or pantry that is able to keep their doors open without the aid of volunteers. In fact, some pantries are all-volunteer led.
From the onset of the pandemic, volunteers within the Foodbank and food pantries have been deemed essential in the packaging and distribution of food. Fortunately, our region is flush with people who want to help in any way possible and hundreds have stepped up during this trying time to ensure those in our communities are receiving food.
Some have even turned volunteering into weekly, if not daily, activities for their families during the pandemic as many have found themselves with extra time on their hands.
While many organizations have restrictions on what age someone needs to be to volunteer, the Foodbank and pantries welcome almost any age and ability for tasks such as sorting, lifting, taping, making and breaking down boxes, and other similar tasks.
We like to say whether someone is 5 or 95, there’s something for you to do.
Recent volunteer highlights
The Richardson children, age 12-15, have been helping out weekly at People’s Health Center’s Mobile Market.
“It’s fun to come here. It’s fun to see people’s smiles when they get a meal to eat.”
“It’s good to give back to people.”
Darryl and Kathy typically help out on Wednesdays at Isaiah 58 Ministries. When the pandemic hit they shifted their typical duties to help with Mobile Markets.
Emily (not pictured) and her three girls have been coming into our volunteer center every day it has been open during the pandemic for one or more volunteer shifts. Packing, at this point, thousands of pounds of food to be delivered to our partners.
Tom has become an integral part of the Arnold Food Pantry. During the last three years, he has volunteered there every single day except the two days per year it’s closed.
Avyn, 12, along with his sister and mom volunteer with Trinity Church’s Mobile Market in Florissant.
He said volunteering feels good and is “like a random act of kindness.”
Rich Scahill, one of the nearly 300 members of American Legion Post 111, helped out with a recent Nurses for Newborns Mobile Market.
Nurses for Newborn’s CEO, Melinda Monroe, says the Mobile Markets are also a partnership with their organization, the American Legion Post 111, and St. Louis Area Diaper Bank.
After being furloughed from her job, Amy jumped at the chance to help when Fee Fee Baptist Church put out the call for volunteers to help with their Mobile Markets. She said she’s not sure who’s receiving the bigger blessing, “them or me. Just getting that feeling of we really are helping, it’s been amazing. It’s definitely a labor of love.”
After working six days in a row, Anjanai spent her one day off volunteering with Butterfly Haven’s Mobile Market on a hot summer’s day. She was grateful to be there offering her “two hands and two feet” to help give back.
She shared that “helping out to give somebody else something back; it’s a good feeling. You can waste time … why not give some good time to somebody who actually needs it.”
When the Lutheran Child and Family Services food pantry in Hardin, Illinois closed its doors about three years ago, the Foodbank began holding a large, monthly Mobile Market in town which would not be possible without volunteers. Many of the current volunteers also volunteered with the pantry when it was open.
Angela volunteers anytime there’s a need with her church, Mt. Calvary Church of God in Christ. She said, for her, volunteering is “a joyous time to be able to serve others.”
We are beyond grateful to everyone who volunteers with us and our partner agencies. You have been and will continue to be vital to our operations and help ease hunger in our region. Thank you.