One evening in 2012, Joanne and her husband Richard were watching the news when a story came on saying the Food Bank needed volunteers. Being retired and looking for something to do, they signed up for a shift and started volunteering one day a week in our Community Engagement Center.

A month later, we put out a call for volunteers to help with office work. And, Joanne stepped up.

“For me, that was a preview for the work that actually goes on here. It’s a lot more than filling bags and handing them out,” Joanne said. “I really like knowing that I’m helping somebody at the Food Bank get their job done,” she said.

Most of the time, that person is our Food Drive Coordinator, Katherine. After working together for seven years, Katherine and Joanne have formed a great working relationship and friendship.

What’s the most rewarding part of volunteering?

Joanne: Besides working with Katherine? It’s a Zen thing in a way. I have three hours and at the end, I have a sense of completion that I helped in some way.

You volunteer here every Monday supporting Katherine. What keeps you coming back?

Joanne: The people who work here are great. Katherine always has work for me, she’s always organized. I feel like I’m in the right place doing what I like to do.

Katherine: I look forward to Joanne coming in every Monday. I could not do the work I do at the level I try to do it without volunteers like Joanne. Plain and simple.

After seven years, what’s the best part of working so closely together?

Katherine: What I love about working with Joanne is that whenever I work on a project with her, I can relax knowing I have complete confidence in whatever task she helps with. The words I would use to describe her are excellence and exactitude.

Joanne: It’s partly our personalities. It’s those times where Katherine is problem solving and she involves me. She’s respectful enough of me to ask, ‘Well, what do you think we should do?’ She is just amazing at what she does and it’s a joy to work with her.

Katherine: Joanne can do it all. She’s the gold standard as far as I’m concerned.

When we put the call out for volunteers seven years ago, we’re so glad Joanne responded. From working in the warehouse, to helping with mailings, to ladling soup at Empty Bowls – she’s truly done it all around here. It’s the excellence she brings to every Monday shift that helps us reach the thousands of neighbors who turn to us for support. Thank you, Joanne.