Recognizing our Food Distribution Volunteers
What sings, dances, laughs and simultaneously addresses food insecurity in our community? MOM food distribution volunteers! As we continue to celebrate National Volunteer Month, we take this opportunity to recognize the dedicated volunteers that support the food distribution programs of MOM.
Food Distribution is a large operation and uniquely important because it addresses food insecurity in our community. Food insecurity is defined by the USDA as a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food. The Food Distribution program at MOM is thoughtfully designed to provide access to nutritious, safe and familiar foods to our clients. This is accomplished through on-site distribution, mobile food pantries, partnerships with local schools and special food drives throughout the year.
Each of these services rely on a dedicated and abundant group of volunteers. In fact, our food distribution accounts for over 50 percent of all volunteer hours served in 2021. The on-site service is currently available three days each week and requires a minimum of 14 volunteers to serve a steady flow of neighbors for a 1.5 to 2 hour time frame. Some food orders are delivered by seven volunteer drivers to our neighbors who are not able to get to the on-site distribution. MOM also takes the food pantry on the road to expand access to those that live in areas identified as high concentration of need. Mobile units provide food to neighbors in Middleton and West Madison on a monthly basis. This service requires the support of regular MOM volunteers plus support from the Middleton Action Team and the local chapter of Kiwanis. Mobile unit volunteers assist a MOM staff member to load, drive, setup, distribute food and handle the check-out process.
Our Food Distribution volunteers are a diverse mix of individuals dedicated to the health and well-being of our clients. Janet joined MOM as a volunteer 16 years ago and has served in all areas of MOM including the administrative office and special events. She currently commands the critical role of “caller” for on-site food distribution. This means that Janet sets the stage for clear communication and efficient work flow as we fill client food orders. Small in stature but with a booming voice Janet keeps the operation moving while simultaneously creating a pleasant environment for all. Janet is known to break out in song and do a little jig as she makes her way from produce to personal care products “calling” out the requests of each client. Janet’s heart and spirit is a perfect match for volunteerism. She says “It is gratifying to know that MOM offers such a variety of healthy food as well as household items that families may choose. Seeing grateful families always makes me smile”.
Last week we said goodbye to Bernie; a volunteer for six years. He served as “loader” for his last shift and shared with us that he is selling his house and, deadpans, that he is “moving south; - to Janesville”. We will miss Bernie and wish him the very best. At the same time we know other members of our community will join the effort to keep food moving out the door and into neighborhood households.
Coming next week: Volunteers and the Clothing Center
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