Why Volunteer for Community Plates?

This is my story.  I plan on sharing my experiences of volunteering for Community Plates, but the real question is:  Why did I sign up to volunteer?

Years ago, I became very interested in 2 local non-profit organizations and wanted to help.  I was welcomed by each organization and asked to sit on their boards.  I have to admit I was a bit flattered because I thought my voice and efforts could have a direct impact on the organization.  I sat on the finance and fundraising committees and as I became more and more involved with the officers of the board, I became angry.  I volunteered for the cause, but quickly learned others didn’t.  Major board members volunteered to meet certain individuals who’d assist them in gaining a coveted country club membership.  It sickened me and I finished my term and was turned off from the concept of volunteering.

Since then, I’ve held jobs that required a lot of travel or a long commute leaving me precious spare time to accomplish my personal errands.  I admit, the sting of other people’s bad behavior still had me closed off to volunteering again.  I guess you’d say I became a ‘volunteer snob’.

Recently, I went to a lecture and after the talk was waiting in line when I struck a conversation with Kevin Mullins.  Kevin is the Executive Director of Community Plates (CP).  His passion for Community Plates was so infectious that he converted this ‘volunteer snob’.  I wanted to help, but thought it more important to focus on my job search than volunteer.  However, I soon realized I was talking about Community Plates to friends and family, blogged and tweeted about CP on a continuous basis.

Why had my random conversation with Kevin had such a great impact on me?  Other than Kevin being a great conversationalist, he conveyed CP’s simple mission:  Rescue food and bring it to those who need it.  I love that my direct action could have such a positive reaction.  Kevin is looking for volunteers to pick up food from restaurants or grocery stores CP has relationships with, and drop it off at shelters or food pantries.  I loved the idea, but fearful that I’d lose time focusing on my job search, I asked Kevin if my husband and I could volunteer for one run a month.  He said yes.

CP would love if people could volunteer for 1 run a week, but as Kevin told me he is grateful for all the help he can get.  In my case, I really wanted to do this with my husband, but he works multiple jobs and has very little time to spare.  CP was very accommodating about my request because they haven’t lost sight of their mission and only want to rescue as much food as possible and distribute it to those who need it.

As I continue to volunteer for CP, I will write about my experiences about making a food rescue run (my first one is this Saturday), meeting the people behind Community Plates, meeting other volunteers and how you can make a difference through volunteering or word-of-mouth.

If you want to volunteer, please click http://communityplate.wpengine.com/getinvolved or click the ‘Get Involved’ link at the top of the blog.

If you do decide to help, I hope to meet you and would love to share your story with others of why you signed up.  Hope to hear from you — Joan….