Volunteer story - Emily


Sketching, dancing, babysitting, and spending time with her family are some ways 17 year old Emily spends her time. Fortunately, she added volunteering at Second Harvest to the list last November!

Organized and hardworking volunteers formed Emily’s first impression of Second Harvest. Joining others on her shifts, Emily feels like she belongs and is part of a group. Two volunteers she considers really good friends are Steve and Izzy, both retired, who are fun to hang out with in Dry Goods Sorting.

Emily thinks the issue of hunger is “such a big deal” and that sometimes it may be “out of sight, out of mind.” However, when you volunteer you realize the issue is huge.  She hopes people will take this into consideration when volunteering here or elsewhere.  Thinking about volunteering? Emily says it’s very rewarding with all of the people you meet. She says, “You just need to experience it!”

Michael volunteers labeling bagsMichael

Bags, bags, and more bags need to be labeled for use in the Product Recovery area so that donated food can be properly portioned for those in need. Paul Ingebrigtson, project supervisor, estimates that 7,500 labeled bags are needed each week.  Thirty-one year old Michael Fenne is one of the volunteers who get the job done!

Michael’s service, coordinated by Work Plus, Inc., first began in June of 2012 when he came in once a week for approximately 1 ½ hours. Increasing his service to about 3 ½ hours per week in November 2013, Michael now helps end hunger two days a week.

Not only have Michael’s volunteer hours at Second Harvest increased but also his personal growth. Bernice Wermuth, Michael’s case manager at Work Plus, Inc., shared that Michael has Down syndrome and was really struggling with being out in the community before volunteering at Second Harvest. Michael is very comfortable and much more positive at Second Harvest, lighting up when he walks in the building. Bernice said that he feels valued and that his volunteering has made him much more independent allowing him to become employed at Java Cat. Way to go, Michael!

Become a Second Harvest volunteer! You too may experience personal growth while you help end hunger in our community.