Margaret Williams, Scott Williams, Steve Lustig, Andrzej Popis, Beatrice Knight, Carol Kilgore, Paul Hargaden, Alton Myers, and Jay White all belong to an unofficial, but very special “club” of volunteers who meet at the Food Bank every Thursday to sort food and pack it up for our agency partners who feed people across greater Atlanta and north Georgia. (Not pictured: Bennie Sherwood, Fred Longobardi, Theodore McNealy, Stephanie Watkins and a dedicated group from People Making Progress.)
This group is a huge help to first timer volunteers, but also to Food Bank staff who lead the volunteer shifts. “They are as close to the mission as we are,” said Food Bank Volunteer Group Lead Kendal Phillips. “They dedicate their time to make sure there is quality product going out into the community.”
Paul Hargaden has been coming for seven years. “Food is such a fundamental need; there is no hope of improving oneself without it,” said Paul. “A student cannot concentrate in school when hungry; an adult cannot perform their job, or if jobless, cannot hope to succeed in job training, or even an interview for a job, when hungry. Helping provide food is a core step in helping people achieve a better life.”
Paul said the forming of the group wasn’t necessarily intentional. “We each started coming to the Food Bank independently for our own reasons and settled on Thursdays as the time we would volunteer. Over the years, we've gotten to know each other and have sort of become a de facto group,” he said. “In addition to wanting to get as much product rescued as we can in a shift, we are pretty much all about camaraderie… we maintain a constant banter throughout the whole shift on almost any topic, although politics (from federal to local) gets a lot of time; but so do movies, sports, restaurants, recent or upcoming vacations - you name it - it’s fair game. Over the years, some people have moved on and new people are always ‘joining’ - which really only means deciding to volunteer regularly on Thursdays - and are always welcome.”
If you would like to volunteer at the Food Bank on Thursdays - or another day - you can learn more about the options here!