Karen has been retired for seven years, but she stays busy doing boot camp four days a week, visiting her mom and volunteering at the Food Bank.
Karen was first introduced to the Food Bank when her former employer raised food donations for the Food Bank. She would stop by the Food Bank, back then at the South Congress location, to drop off the food donations.
The Food Bank left a lasting impression on her.
Once she retired, she decided to go back to the Food Bank again. This time, she was helping inspect and sort food donations. But when she heard about our Mobile Food Pantries, she decided to give that a try. She was hooked.
“Well, I started out in the warehouse, and then I tried the Mobile Pantry. And I just got hooked,” Karen said.
Since February 2015, she has volunteered at our Mobile Food Pantries in every sort of weather. After so many years, she has even gotten used to serving clients in the rain.
“I have been in a few rainstorms, but its fine, we get through it,” Karen said. “We get out there and start helping people getting the food out. Of course they are getting rained on too. So we try to do it as fast as possible.”
Karen donates her time at five of our Mobile Food Pantries and even drives a couple of hours to get there. She is a familiar face at our Lexington, San Saba, Johnson City, Creedmore, Del Valle and Austin Mobile Food Pantries.
After years of volunteering, she has become friends with other volunteers at the sites and looks forward to seeing them.
“We meet different [volunteers], so I’ve become friends with them and other people too. So, you have your friends that you go to each time you go to the Mobile Pantry,” she said.
Though the San Angelo native hasn’t experienced food insecurity, she has been able to see how hunger affects our community at the Mobile Pantries.
“I realize that there are a lot of people who don’t have a lot of things and need a lot of help. It’s just nice to come and help. You get to see all the people and be part of it. I just enjoy doing it,” Karen said.
Karen has donated 285 hours over the past four years and has been a huge help at our distributions. Her smile and kindness brighten our clients’ day as she takes on every volunteer role - from restocking product to client intake.
“If the Mobile Pantry team anticipates a low volunteer turnout at a distribution, Karen is our go-to for last minute volunteer support, even if it means rain is in the forecast! Karen puts in many miles traveling to different locations based on our volunteer needs and we could not be more appreciative," Distributions Programs Supervisor Kara Hedlund said.
Thank you, Karen, for your incredible dedication to helping us get food into the hands of families in need. You are greatly appreciated!