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Volunteer Testimonials

Read these awesome testimonials then check out our latest volunteer opportunities!

Kevin Sweetra – Philadelphia, PA- 1 year and 6 mos
Volunteer, Philabundance Community Food Center, 6th & Lehigh

I retired not too long ago and was looking for worthwhile volunteer opportunities to fill some of my newly found free time. I had read great things about Philabundance and started volunteering at their main warehouse in South Philly. While there, I heard about the Community Food Center and, since it was closer to home, decided to check it out. I’m very glad that I did since the CFC impressed me so much that I’ve been going there once or twice a week for over a year now.

The CFC is set up like a corner grocery store. This intimate setting allows for some direct interaction with the customers as you help guide them through the aisles, assist with check out or help bag their items. This interaction is almost universally positive since the clients are so appreciative not only of the food that they get but also of your presence there to help them get it.

The incomparable Philabundance site staff are equally appreciative of the volunteers and make your time there as pleasant as possible. The other volunteers are a pleasure to work with as well.

The personal expressions of gratitude from the customers, the comraderie of the staff and volunteers, and the simple joy felt from giving of yourself all keeps me coming back for more and will for the foreseeable future.


Steve Seyler – Elkins Park, PA- 6 months
Volunteer, Philabundance Community Food Center, 6th & Lehigh

I’ve been blessed with many advantages and opportunities in my life.  It is important to me that I find ways to share with others. I think most people recognize the need to give back to the community. But for many of us, there are perceived obstacles to our volunteer involvement. For me, I wasn’t sure I could make the time to commit to a regular schedule.  Now I know that even a few hours of volunteer work makes an incredible difference.  I also had apprehension about volunteering in an unfamiliar neighborhood. My concern disappeared the first time I met the patrons and staff of the Community Food Center.  I cannot say enough about the warmth and gratitude of the folks I am serving. The longer I volunteer, the more I feel like I am among good friends.  It is so immensely rewarding in ways that are impossible to describe.  And one of the biggest benefits I receive is being inspired by the dedication and positive attitude of the team at Philabundance.


Gladys J. Carden – Lawnside, NJ- 2 years
Messianic Magnificence Ministry

I learned of the Philabundance program (Fresh ForAll) through a friend.  I began volunteering in Camden at (St. John Baptist Church).   It became addictive.  Looking back, I can’t believe that was almost two years ago.  I’ve volunteered at numerous sites and participated as Philabundance launched new sites at Front and Tasker and 4900 Spruce Street.  I’ve also volunteered time as an office helper; logging in client information from the various sites.  Why?  Because I love the way it feels to be able to serve/help others, especially those who have a true need.  The Philabundance programs are a blessing in these economically challenging times.  To hear someone say ‘Thank You’,  ‘God Bless You’, or ‘We are glad you’re doing what you do for us’, as they leave with their fresh fruits and vegetables is like the icing on a cake…fulfilling.


Briana Thomas- Glassboro, NJ- Volunteer since August 2009
Graduate Student

I heard about Philabundance by way of email, and what caught my attention was the volunteer sites they had in South Jersey, particularly in my home town Glassboro. I was attending Temple University at the time, and because it was called “Philabundance” I assumed that the volunteer experience would be in Philly. There was no particular reason why I decided to volunteer; I guess it just seemed like the right thing to do. Especially because the volunteer commitment was so flexible, I sent an interest email and the rest is history. I really enjoy participating in Philabundance because through it I have met so many wonderful people and have developed new friendships with other volunteers. For me it is the familiar faces and expressions of gratitude that food bank recipients share, as well as the other volunteers behind the work that make the experience so meaningful.


John Massey- Sicklerville, NJ- 2 years

Volunteering at Philabundance has been an experience that I will never forget. Back in December 2008, I lost my job at Electronic Data System. Of course, after losing my job, I had a lot of time on my hands which I needed to fill with something productive and rewarding. Shortly thereafter, I was introduced to Philabundance through my cousin Sharon Stone who had been volunteering for some time. She informed me that I will have fun as a volunteer and at the same time be helping people. Well, that is right down my alley, because I love to have fun and to help people. I believe that you will reap what you sow. You sow good things; it will come back to you. Plus, it’s a good feeling when you know that you have helped somebody to make their lives a little bit easier.

I then decided to become a volunteer at Philabundance. My experience at the different locations that I volunteered has been all that was described to me and more. I felted as through I was doing something productive and rewarding. I now once again felt like a part of society. Seeing people that really needed the food and how they even thanked me for being there as a volunteer. Wow, what a feeling of accomplishment! To feel the joy and gratitude that they expressed to me for being there to help them. Also, I had fun with other volunteers who share the same feeling of helping others and at the same time have fun in doing so as we work towards the same purpose. Yes, I will always love and enjoy volunteering at Philabundance.


Sharon Stone – Cumberland, NJ
Founder, The MVP! Foundation

Volunteerism to me, is a demonstration of one’s heart and so it’s something we can all do that keeps us connected.

Usually the spirit of volunteerism comes alive more when there’s a crisis.  Although that’s great to see, I believe volunteering on a regular basis and making a standing commitment to do so can in some cases, eliminate even the possibility of a crisis in our community of families.  That’s why I volunteer with Philabundance weekly, when and wherever I’m needed.

It’s nothing short of an awesome feeling when the heart is satisfied.  To be able to help families endure from week to week and in some cases, day to day is gratifying to say the least. New applicants at various locations have personally shared with me about their financial struggles and how it was somewhat embarrassing for them to be in line for food.  How they were on a corporate salary and now are struggling to pay bills and raise their family.  Then I share with them that I too was in corporate America for twenty plus years and even being single, was faced with some of the same financial dilemmas.  This always makes them feel a little more welcomed to be there.  I shared that the best thing I could have done was get involved to help someone else.  And, that embarrassment can be easily replaced with gratefulness.   Grateful that we’re in a country that allows for companies like Philabundance to exist for the betterment of its people.  So I encourage them to continue to come, bring others, and consider volunteering.  And they always did.

Philabundance is a tremendous bridge-like structure for many – providing a degree of aid and support until they get to the other side of their financial setback in life.  The Philabundance team that comes on time – every time – bring more than food.  They bring hope.  And the volunteers simply help to distribute it.  We love what we do.

As a result of my two plus year volunteerism, the MVP! Foundation will apply for affiliation this spring as a means to continue the great work of the Philabundance organization.


Timothy Kapono Peterson – North Philadelphia – 1.5 year volunteer
Center for Student Missions (CSM)

I’d be lying if I said I always volunteered since I was a teenager. Actually, the first time I volunteered was at a non-profit called Lydia Children’s Home in Chicago. I loved it. There is something about volunteer service that is so Amazing with a capital “A”! My grandma called me her go for (or gopher?) because I liked to help her. Maybe it’s my grandma’s fault for encouraging me.

I am not saying I am naturally good or anything but when I help others (whether I see the direct effects or not) I want to do it again…and again. I think there is something inside of us that just likes to help people.

I was introduced to Philabundance through my work, Center for Student Missions (CSM). We are a Christian organization that prepares and carries out short-term mission trips in the city. We’ve partnered with Philabundance for about 8 years now. I volunteer at Philabundance sometimes and other times I send volunteers there since I am in charge of the service itinerary or schedule for the week.

From my experience volunteering here and sending volunteers here I believe what the experience at Philabundance gives us an opportunity to do the “behind the scenes” work to help feed those who are in need. It not only feels great each time to do it but it can really bring groups of different people together. There is not only a sense of unity while we work at Philabundance but it is fun! There’s usually music playing and we’re getting a lot done at the same time!

For me personally it is also a sober reminder to be thankful each day. To be thankful that I can move, breathe, walk, and have enough food for the day. I just feel so useful and needed when I am at Philabundance. There is always something to be done.


Kathleen McCormick – Haddonfield, New Jersey – 4 year volunteer
GSK Employee

GSK employees are encouraged to spend one day a year giving their time and energy to help and support their local community. This day is called Orange Day named to reflect the color of the GSK logo, and is held world-wide. GSK’s mission of helping people to do more, feel better and live longer can be achieved, not just through our medicines, vaccines and consumer products, but also through our involvement with our communities. It’s very easy to become a volunteer and bring a group to Philabundance. The staff is organized and our workers complete their job for the session and understand the importance to the community. When we volunteer at Philabundance we spend a couple of hours helping others while the team benefits from completing an activity together. Great team building activity!


Lucinda Veit – Lafayette Hill, PA – 3.5 year volunteer
St. Philip Neri Parish

Three years ago our parish chose an empty bowl as a focus for a Lenten meditation. That led to a search for ways that we could help to alleviate hunger in our area, and the start of a group that has visited volunteered at Philabundance on a monthly basis. From the moment we walk in the door we are welcomed and appreciated. On our drive to the center, we always wonder what task will be ours that day. We have bagged dry cereal and pasta, sorted food drive donations, worked the assembly line to pack emergency and senior boxes, and even created holiday greeting cards to pack with those boxes. Recently we packed fresh produce, a wonderful sign of the commitment of Philabundance of making the healthiest food available to the hungry. We have worked alongside Marines and Navy personnel, business people, nursing students, college students on service spring break trips, and local school youth. It is a gift to work alongside such a variety of people, to be supported by the patient and respectful staff, and to be a link in the chain of events that gets food on the table of the hungry.


Mariellen Paulus – Horsham,PA – 10 year volunteer
Lincoln Investment Planning, Inc. and Gloria Dei Church

I volunteer at the foodbank because I have a strong drive inside to help people, especially the hungry. By helping out at the foodbank, I am also given many gifts. I feel more grounded after I volunteer at the foodbank. Things are more in perspective for me. I know better what is important in life and what really is not all that important. I appreciate my blessings more. I become more understanding because I see how many hardworking people struggle, many of them innocent children. The economy has really hurt many families, and many families for the first time ever are struggling to keep their families fed. I feel called to do what I can. So I sort food, help out at the Community Food Cupboard, and make monetary donations.


Penny A. Purnell – Philadelphia, PA

I have been a regular weekly volunteer at Philabundance for nearly three years and can’t say enough good things about the experience.

Of course there’s the satisfaction of helping with such an essential program. But beyond that, it’s a pleasure to work with the staff at Philabundance. Everyone I have met seems to genuinely like their work and to have a real commitment to the success of Philabundance. And with the range of volunteer activities that is available, there is something for everyone. I have especially enjoyed getting a bit of exercise by stocking shelves. Lots more fun than going to a gym to lift weights!

For retirees like myself. who frequently have more time than money to spare, it’s the perfect way to contribute. We have choices about how we spend our time, and I can’t think of a better choice than helping others, meeting a lot of nice people, and having some fun all at once. It’s truly a win/win situation!


Theresa Simons-Sauerwein – Huntingdon Valley, PA
Superior Telecom Service (A Telecommunications Contractor)

As a child I remembered my Father taking us out to eat. If we can across someone homeless , hungry or looking for money my Dad would stop and tell them where we were going and ask what we might pick up for them. In some cases they remarked that they needed money not food. We would move on. If they were truly hungry my Dad would get them the biggest meal available. This lesson stuck with me through adulthood and has been passed onto my now adult children. My family was taught “If you have been blessed in life to have what need, (food, shelter and clothing) and sometimes what you want, then you need to always remember to give to those who have not been as fortunate.”

 

With the state of the economy today, more and more of our neighbors are in need of help, feeding their families. The economy has affected everyone young and old. As a country we waste a lot of food that could be providing meals to the hungry. Donating time or food to Philabundance helps fuel the battle against HUNGER!!

I remember reading a quote that would be appropriate here:

Love Thy Neighbor
The quality of selflessness – doing good for others- is a great way to increase joy in the world and, at the same time, your own. If you do nothing else today, help someone who needs it and then see how you feel.


Rachel J. Turner, Outreach & Programs Manager
Global Citizen, MLK365 Program & Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service

Philabundance has been an amazing community partner, working with our organization to offer year-round volunteer opportunities as part of our MLK365 program and participating in our Martin Luther King Day of Service initiative each year.

We love working with Philabundance because the organization provides volunteers with the opportunity to very directly see how their efforts are fighting hunger in the region. When volunteers enter the Community Food Center, friendly and well-organized staff provides a brief orientation and then it’s down to business on the assembly line. After only an hour of packaging food, volunteers can very quickly see the impact of their service, a palate full of packages being wrapped in plastic and prepared for shipping to agencies that distribute food to hungry families and individuals.

Philabundance staff are not only skilled at helping volunteers realize the importance of their service, but are also experts at making the actual volunteer project a fun experience. During our most recent volunteer day, Philabundance staff played music while volunteers worked on the assembly line. The volunteers LOVED it! They were singing and humming while packaging food for those in need; the staff did a great job of fostering comradery among volunteers.

We strongly recommend Philabundance to nonprofit partners who are looking to offer their volunteer base opportunities that are meaningful and well-organized. We also recommend Philabundance to individuals and volunteer groups who are looking for looking to make a real difference while having some fun.