From turkey drives to spreading the word about healthy eating habits, it has been a busy year for Foodbank of Santa Barbara County volunteers.
Foodbank volunteers provide more than 20,000 hours of service through Foodbank programs, facilities and events. To acknowledge the hard work and participation of volunteers during 2012, the Foodbank hosted a Holiday Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon recently at the Page Youth Center, including a delicious barbecue chicken lunch with all the fixings, live music by local artists and fun raffle prizes.
One of the Foodbank’s youngest volunteers, 5-year-old Aileen, accompanies her mom, Maricruz, on the second Thursday of every month to volunteer at the Foodbank’s Healthy School Pantry at the Goleta Valley Community Center, where there are educational activities for families, youths and adults.
Maricruz and Aileen are committed to volunteering once a month, arriving early to help set up, distribute healthy recipes to participants, and answer questions.
Aileen encourages kids to participate in the program through leading by example. She is always the first one on the popular “bike blender” demonstrating to and cheering on other youths to join. Maricruz is also part of the Foodbank Nutrition Advocacy Committee, which serves as a focus group of volunteers, helping to shape the types of food introduced at Healthy School Pantry and other matters, such as which community partners to invite.
The mother and daughter duo have been volunteering for more than a year and love it. Aileen says she likes to help kids and families and enjoys being in the company of other kids who help as well.
A key to the success of each Foodbank program is community leadership and volunteerism. There is a wide range of opportunities to make a profound difference today and for the future of our community while interacting with kids, cooking and having fun.
— Danielle Deltorchio for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.