by Nancy Eisenberg, Volunteer Scheduling Coordinator
National Volunteer Week provided the perfect opportunity for the San Diego Food Bank to celebrate and recognize a group of people who play a vital role in our mission to fight hunger in San Diego County – our volunteers. To show our appreciation for their hard work and dedication, we transformed our Nonprofit Food Center into a banquet hall on Tuesday, April 17 and welcomed 60 of our volunteer leaders.
Vanessa Moore, Vice President of Operations, and John Bode, Food Center and Volunteer Manager, led our awards ceremony. “Our volunteers are a key part of our operations at the San Diego Food Bank,” said Vanessa Moore.
“Without their time and dedication we would be unable to spend 94% of every dollar providing food to the 350,000 San Diego County residents served by the Food Bank each month.”
To illustrate her point, Vanessa told our volunteers that the number of people whom they help us to serve each month would fill Petco Park 10 times! John Bode added that our volunteers visited the Food Bank more than 26,000 times and devoted nearly 59,000 hours of their time by working in our warehouse and at other community distribution events in the past year alone. Their hard work represents a $1.6 million dollar labor force and would take the combined efforts of more than 35 full-time employees.
As our volunteer leaders accepted their awards, they were invited to address the crowd and talk about what their volunteer work has meant to them and what it is that draws them back to the San Diego Food Bank. Their belief in our mission and their connection to the other volunteers and our warehouse project coordinators were mentioned many times.
Our 2018 Volunteer of the Year, Michael Laman, provided nearly 900 hours of volunteer service to the San Diego Food Bank! As Michael accepted his award, John Bode thanked Michael, not only for his time, but the improvements that he has suggested to help us enhance some of our systems and make them more efficient. Laman, a retired engineer, told the group, “I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the solution.” He then thanked the project coordinators for all of the logistics that they coordinate so that the volunteers can give their time. Laman finished by adding, “I really enjoy working with all of the people.”
2014 Volunteer of the Year, Paul Amberg, will reach a record-breaking 5,000 volunteer hours this year. What keeps him coming back? “There are always a million things to do and knowing that so many nonprofits get food from us and we are helping people all over the county, it is very rewarding. I like that each day brings in new volunteers with new stories to tell and new friendships to offer. I like that everyone is happy to see me and I am happy to be there, “ said Amberg.
Are you interested in helping us to fight hunger in our community? CLICK HERE to register to be a volunteer at the San Diego Food Bank and please check in on Facebook and Instagram to share your experience with your friends.