Interview with our Volunteers, Part II – “The Volunteer Experience”

Ruth, Joyce, and Jeanne have been volunteering at Moveable Feast for years; Ruth for eleven, and Jeanne and Joyce for eight. Today, they are sharing their experiences.

What is your favorite part of volunteering at Moveable Feast?

Jeanne: The bike ride. I volunteer every year. Oh, no, I don’t ride. But I work at the pit stops, helping out the Riders.

Ruth: I also help out at the bike ride.

Jeanne: Oh yes she does! Ruth acts as the ‘head of security’ at the end of the bike ride. Unofficially of course. She just waits for the Riders to arrive and then she lectures them if they have to use the bathroom. Haha.

Ruth: Indeed I do. I say, “Didn’t your mother always tell you to use the bathroom before you leave?”

So what has been the most fulfilling part of volunteering here for each of you?

Joyce: I would have to say that I enjoy knowing that I am helping people that really need it. They are sick and nutrition is so important when you are sick. If you don’t have proper food to eat, you can’t possibly get better. It’s fulfilling to know that I am doing something worthwhile.

Joyce: I also enjoy baking cookies. We don’t do it here so much, but at Haussner’s, we used to bake a great deal. We even baked gingerbread cookies, little men and women cookies, one year at the holidays. They were decorated and everything.

Jeanne: Another year we did those sugar cookies too. They were baggied up into little bags and given to the kids in the families of the clients.

Moveable Feast uses people with special needs in their kitchen and packing room, and EVERYONE enjoys working with them! How have you found it?

Joyce: You know, when they first start, they are very tentative, and don’t quite know what they are doing or what they should be doing, and it’s very nice to see them mature and really get into their responsibilities.

Ruth: Yes, I agree. There is a girl named Jessie who works in the kitchen. She makes the sandwiches. And we’ll see her, and we’ll wave, or say hello, but she won’t speak to us at all. She’ll just grin and look down. But she’s never spoken to us.

Jeanne: Or there is Raymond, who is definitely autistic. He works in groceries-to-go. And he definitely has trouble communicating sometimes with us. But the one thing he is truly great at is moving things. He is big and strong and can pick anything up and carry it.

Joyce: If he sees one of us struggling with something, he will come over and help us carry it to wherever it needs to go.

Jeanne: And we had one of those volunteer appreciation events where the families of the volunteers come and celebrate what they have done. And Raymond’s family was there. And his mother told us how happy he is to go to work every day. You know, he’s 21, just out of high school, and really has nothing to do all day. He is so excited to come to work. He really has taken his responsibilities seriously. 

Any last thoughts about volunteering at Moveable Feast?

Jeanne: And I gotta say that the work ethic of these kids is so impressive. And you really learn some great skills while volunteering here. In particular, fantastic kitchen sanitation rules.

Joyce: You gotta be very careful in the kitchen in general. But with the needs of the clients that this kitchen serves, we have to be extra careful. We have all learned great kitchen skills.

Jeanne: We’ve been here so long that we finally got real Moveable Feast aprons! After ten years! We can use them instead of the plastic ones. The only thing is…I keep forgetting to bring mine each week.

Joyce: I just don’t bring mine – I don’t want to get stains on it, I like it so much!

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