Since we love and value our volunteers, we wanted to hear about their experiences during this extraordinary year, specifically what they have enjoyed most about volunteering at CSA. Here are some of their responses.
Connie Chin: Lending a hand is most rewarding for me because what I do has a direct impact on individual clients and families, as well as the very hardworking and efficient employees who ensure that everything is operating smoothly and safely. It’s very satisfying to know I am contributing to meeting a basic human need for nourishment by sorting, packing, bagging, and distributing food. Though brief, I also enjoy the opportunity to safely interact with the clients on distribution days. Another thing that is a special perk at CSA is meeting and volunteering alongside an interesting and caring variety of individuals. It’s the dedicated employees at CSA who help make volunteering and assisting the community fun teamwork!
Adina Nelson: One of the highlights of my week includes volunteering at my local food pantry, where I help sort food donations, process the food to be provided to the underserved, and help organize the food pantry’s distribution system. Initially, I began volunteering due to my sense of responsibility to help the less fortunate, but I soon fell in love with being able to provide some joy to people’s lives and provide basic necessities. Not only did members of the underserved community come for the food pick-ups, but they also came to converse and gain a sense of belonging. Being able to provide that and brighten someone’s day by simply holding a conversation has been humbling and taught me that even the small things in life, such as having someone to talk to, are a privilege.
Engaging with the underserved has provided me with insights into the importance of improving food security, taught me many lessons on the challenges many are facing in acquiring essential nutrition, challenged my ways of thinking and strengthened my ability to empathize with others to become a more compassionate person.
Phoenix Padell: When the pandemic hit and my work went remote, I struggled to find a routine and focus. CSA had helped my family many years ago, so I decided it was time to give back. Working the food distribution has given me the opportunity to work with so many exceptional people from our community and also experience the joy of helping others.
Teela Pulliam: What I enjoy most about CSA is the community of people coming together to make a difference – from the employees who work 200% to keep everything on track to the volunteers who can pack eggs for hours with a smile.
Daphne Ross: I enjoy connecting with the other volunteers, doing shared work for our community, feeling like I am doing something that will make an impact on someone, getting a better idea of the services CSA provides to so many in our community, and of course seeing the staff and socializing with them. I have always known that volunteer work makes me feel good, but I also recently learned that doing things for others lowers our stress levels. During this immense time of stress and uncertainty, it has been a gift to have a volunteer commitment that I have enjoyed so much.
Clint Smith: Though it is only a few hours a week, my CSA food transport work makes me feel more connected to my community. I’m one small but meaningful link in a strong chain, that starts with food donations, continues through our exceptional CSA staff and their programs, and ends with seniors who receive food support as well as regular weekly check-ins that affirm that our community cares about them.
Renee Ting: I really enjoyed getting to know some of the regular clients, at least enough to smile and be a friendly face to them. I felt like coming to CSA was time to connect with CSA staff, other volunteers and the clients, especially during the early days of the pandemic when we were all so isolated at home.
Karen Tseng: A few things I particularly enjoy about volunteering at CSA include sorting the fresh produce and meeting community members (clients) who are happy to see us. I also like it that CSA is very organized, and I appreciate the effort that goes into organizing each distribution event. The volunteers are all very nice!