Volunteers ARE The Open Door. There are anywhere from 70-150 people volunteering on any given day at The Open Door across our on-site food pantry, Mobile Pantry sites, and in the summertime, our Garden to Table Program and Mobile Lunchbox Program. We wouldn’t be able to feed roughly 17,000 individuals every month without the dedication of our volunteer corps.
Some of those volunteers have been here since the very beginning of The Open Door (before we were even called The Open Door!), and we want to showcase them in this Legacy Volunteer Spotlight. They’ve helped with events, held roles on our board and committees, assisted clients with food selection when we were operating out of the basement on Rahn Road, and so many other things. Thank you to these incredible, dedicated, and invaluable volunteers.
I love meeting individually with each new client and continued to do that until Covid hit. I’ve also done stocking and been involved in the special event committees for Empty Bowls and Zest. I was on the first Board of Directors when the nonprofit was initiated and that was a real learning experience and an exciting time. I’ve been very involved with growing and delivering organic produce to the Open Door from the Mission Garden at St. Thomas Becket.
Volunteer Since 2004
I started volunteering at the Open Door in 2004, when my church, Mount Calvary Lutheran announced they started a food shelf and volunteers were always needed. Even though I didn’t retire from my job until 2008, once I started, I knew it was a good atmosphere with a good purpose, and it was something I wanted to do for a long time.
What’s your favorite TOD memory?
Where do I begin? There are so many good ones. I remember when I first started, two family advocates were in the office, me being one of them, with one desk and one phone device to share. I would make a Spanish phone call, and the other advocate would take my place at the desk to make an English phone call when I was done. And so, we spent the two hours rotating phone calls to meet our client’s needs.
Pete – So many clients (especially first-timers) come to TOD with feelings of fear and uncertainty. It’s wonderful to see their fears transform into joy as they see how well they are respected and treated by the TOD staff and volunteers. Nothing beats the great feeling of seeing clients leave with a smile on their face!
Lynn – At least once a shift there is someone who you can see, or feel, has been greatly impacted by TOD. Sometimes you can see that small spark of joy. That keeps me coming back to volunteer. The camaraderie of working with other volunteers is also fun.
I have experienced many volunteer duties over the years; the “Special Projects” area has been my favorite long term assignment. I enjoy the friendship of all the volunteers and working together to provide a positive experience for our clients. “Hats off to a great staff” who keeps everyone on track! The community support continues to impress me, with all the generous food & financial donations.
If you are interested in volunteering at The Open Door, head to theopendoorpantry.org/get-involved/volunteer or reach out to our Volunteer Services Specialist, Veronica Lind, at email@example.com.