Our first volunteer event was on the morning of Saturday November 17, 2012. Kathy Keehn (Clutter to Clean and fellow NAPO member) and I worked at the St Vincent dePaul food pantry. This was the weekend before Thanksgiving and we had no idea what we were walking into. First, let me congratulate St. Vinny's on an amazing system. It is the largest food pantry in Dane County and the systems that they have in place make it run its self. I was very impressed with the operation to say the least.
There were lines of people at 8am when we arrived. We spent almost two hours stocking the pantry and training before it opened. When the pantry opened to clients, there was a smooth flow through each department. All the staff and volunteers were very kind and respectful of each guest and each guest seemed truly grateful for the services. I am always amazed by the generosity of local businesses and individuals, especially this time of year. Businesses were dropping off donations as we were working and someone had donated enough turkeys so that every family was offered one that came through! We served 95 families in only two hours! (They said their largest day was just over 100.)
The need is truly great...but remember, people need help all year long! If you are interested in how you can volunteer your personal time or get your group in to volunteer, please give them a call. They said they especially need help throughout the summer months when people don't often think to volunteer their time.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families from Claire and hers ;-)
St Vincent dePaul Madison http://www.svdpmadison.org/contact.html
Clutter to Clean http://cluttertocleanllc.com/Home_Page.html