(Photo left to right, front row: Latoya Thomas, Capital Area Food Bank Volunteer Coordinator; Kirsten Queen, AmeriCorps Volunteer; Andrea Mackenzie, AmeriCorps Volunteer; Tracey Bates, AmeriCorps Volunteer; Iris Graebner, Capital Area Food Bank Volunteer Manager; back row: Gabriel Ornelas, Capital Area Food Bank Product Recovery Supervisor.)
AmeriCorps members Tracy Bates, Andrea MacKenzie and Kirsten Queen have been named Volunteers of the Quarter by the Capital Area Food Bank for their hard work and commitment to ending hunger.
Tracy, Andrea and Kirsten have volunteered with the Food Bank since September 2014, logging more than 150 volunteer hours. The Product Recovery team said the AmeriCorps members’ weekly volunteer commitment has been a huge asset in sorting donated goods.
“Andrea, Tracy and Kirsten have gone above and beyond by consistently coming in with a friendly attitude while helping us sort product,” said Jamie Connaster, a Food Bank product recovery assistant.
Tracy, Andrea and Kirsten said their motivation to volunteer spearheads from their passion and commitment to helping those in need.
“One of the most eye opening facts you learn at the Food Bank is that a huge percentage of those we are feeding are children,” Tracy said. “Working with children, I see firsthand how some of them are coming to school without having eaten breakfast, and it breaks my heart. Without their basic needs being met, focusing on education is so much more difficult.”
Andrea said she loves volunteering at the Food Bank because she knows at the end of the day, the food she sorts could help feed a hungry neighbor.
“You never know who the food is serving each week; it could easily be someone you know,” Angela said.
The AmeriCorps members said they have developed unique skills and have become resourceful while simultaneously helping the community.
“People think they have to devote a lot of time to volunteering in order to truly have an impact,” Tracy said. “But, volunteering just two to three hours a week at the Food Bank can make a huge difference. … Even one shift at the Food Bank can feed thousands of people. The Food Bank has such a fun atmosphere, so why not help end hunger while hanging out with amazing people?”