5 Questions with a Volunteer

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Arlyn HoemName:
Arlyn Hoem

Years or Months Volunteering:
14 months

1. Why do you volunteer?
I started volunteering after losing my job, and continue because I enjoy it and I know the help is needed and appreciated.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I work and take care of my home, two daughters and two cats. I am also a part-time student at WCTC. When time permits, I enjoy dabbling in photography.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I know there is a need, and the need keeps growing as the economy declines.  It is a great organization doing great work.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
I think I knew I would be making a difference when I had my first tour of the facility during orientation. The amount of food that comes in and goes out on a regular basis is mind-boggling. I knew then that there were far more hungry people in the area than I had imagined.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Do it! It is fun and rewarding, and you get to meet a lot of great people.

 

Wendy and Steve Walter

Names: Wendy and Steve Walter

Years or Months Volunteering:
2 months

1. Why do you volunteer?
We volunteer because we feel it is important to give back to the community. We ave been given much and so we want to give to others.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
We like to travel, read, go for walks, be with friends, cook and we are interested in photography.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
We like to eat and we want to make sure others can as well. There seems to be an increasing need for help with basic necessities.

4. Take us behind the scenes.  Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
Because we work at the Hawley Court site we don't actually see the people that receive the food, but we see the tremendous amount of food that goes out to the food pantries through the Stockbox program for seniors.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Don't hesitate! The staff is friendly and helpful and volunteering gives more to you than you give to it.

 

Patricia JostenName: Patricia Josten

Years or Months Volunteering: 12 years

1. Why do you volunteer?
I don’t want to feel like a taker all my life without being a giver. To me a taker is a person who works hard to earn their money and has a home, car, solid education, plenty of food and clothes, in other words, someone who is fortunate or blessed. I have been blessed with these things in my life and I feel it is my desire and responsibility to share my blessings in whatever way I can with those who haven’t been so fortunate. I would feel like I was letting myself down if I didn’t take the opportunity to volunteer.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I work as a School Crossing Guard for the Whitefish Bay School District. I love to work with children so naturally I love my job. My interests are watching movies and my favorites are the classics. Knitting is a new adventure of mine, since I recently became a surrogate Grandmother for 2 adorable children, Ella 2 years old and Kyle 2 months. I also am working on writing a children’s book that actually might get done someday!

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I like the cause, feeding the hungry; but more importantly I like the idea that everything Hunger Task Force does is LOCAL and FREE to those who need it. This is very important when I think about my volunteer time because I want to help those who need it in my city or county, where we should be neighbors to all.

4. Take us behind the scenes.  Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
Usually my volunteer work is done at the main office site because I mostly do data entry.  However, I was asked to help with conducting surveys which would help to determine if Hunger Task Force could better meet the client’s needs. So now I actually got to go to some of pantry sites and see how the operation really works for someone who needs food. And even more rewarding, I had an opportunity to talk to many of our clients. Their immense gratitude for the small amount of food they receive is amazing.  This is when I saw first hand and understood so much better how important the work is that Hunger Task Force does and my value to that work. The entire operation is well organized in order to make sure the pantries get enough food to give out to the clients so no one goes hungry. You can’t do that without good data entry!

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Don’t hesitate another minute, get out there and try it. Remember that volunteering is like trying on clothes. The first job you volunteer for may not be the best fit; then again it may be perfect. If it isn’t, don’t give up just try something else. There are hundreds of volunteer opportunities out there. I know there are a lot of people who would never want to volunteer for data entry (too boring), but someone has to do it, so why not me!  The non-data people can do food sorts, mailings and lots of other things. All I know is that volunteering is one responsibility I thoroughly enjoy and you will too!

 

Chris Wacker (left) and sonName: Chris Wacker

Years Volunteering: 1 year

1. Why do you volunteer?
I recently turned 50 (going on 30) and wanted to start acting on things I’ve always intended, like volunteering.  I don’t want to be 70 or 80 and say, “I wish I would have.”

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I enjoy time with my kids but that’s very rare as they’re college age. So, time with friends, walking and biking, shooting pool and reading, also a part time job and full time career.  My business is as a Financial Advisor so that takes a great deal of my time and energy.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I was asked to donate to United Way but would rather donate my time to a local cause.  I find the experience of joining a group of people, with the focus of helping others, is very rewarding.

4. What do you find to be the most fulfilling part about volunteering?
In a past life I worked in the retail food industry through Roundy’s. Building pallets in the warehouse or working on a special project completes the circle for me. Now I’m taking past experiences and using them to help others in need. We’ve all been in a tight spot at one time or another, to one degree or another and I’m blessed to be able to be in a position to help lift another person back on their feet with dignity… this is what the Hunger Task Force does.

5. What advice would you give to someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Just do it!  The help you give to others comes back to you many times over through new friends and experiences. There are far too many people who complain about… well, anything and everything. Don’t be one of those! Attitude is a choice, make it a good, positive attitude. I’m blessed with the blood type B-Positive… God DOES have a sense of humor! So choose to be uplifting to those around you and part of that is to help others by volunteering.

 

Lisa CookName: Lisa Cook

Years or Months Volunteering: 1 year

1. Why do you volunteer?
It makes my heart happy to know that I’s helping others.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I’m a homemaker and I love to cross-stitch

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
It’s a very worth-while cause and all the people you work with are fantastic.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
When I worked at the Palermo Easter Basket event; filling all those 1000 bins was so fulfilling. Knowing that the bins were going to the less fortunate, plus all the people worked so well together and were so friendly. And it was great exercise.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
“Just Do It”. It’s the greatest feeling in the world knowing that you can make a difference in the lives of others; and the Hunger Task Force staff are the most wonderful people to work with!!

 

Name: James R. WoodsJames Woods

Years Volunteering: 5

1. Why  do you volunteer?
When I was in business, I worked for myself and my family. As a volunteer, I work for the benefit of others which is a gratifying feeling to know that your can have a major impact on peoples’ lives. I feel part of that impact whenever I volunteer.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I am a great sports fan especially college football and basketball and in the summer I follow the Brewers. My two married children live in Chicago so my wife and myself are there at least once a month. We especially enjoy seeing our granddaughter who is almost a year old now. Fish fries are a must on Friday nights when we can make it.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
Hunger Task Force provides one of the three basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. I wanted to volunteer where I felt that I could help the underprivileged gain access on one of these basic needs. Therefore I wanted to donate my time to Hunger Task Force because they feed so many who do not always have enough food to eat and do so FREE of charge.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
I work with Rick Lewandowski on the Stockbox program (a box of commodity food that low income seniors receive monthly). I keep the database of recipient information current. I know that after I list a new recipient, they will be able to receive this box as long as the program continues. It is gratifying to me to be a part of the process and know that this food will satisfy hungry appetites.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Volunteering is a wonderful way to express our innate need to help others. It is also a great way to bond with others at the organization and make friends. You will be helping the staff of the organization in working towards a common goal of serving the needs of the people they are working to help.

 

Charles CamilliName: Charles Camilli

Years or months volunteering? 7 years

1.  Why do you volunteer?
I have always been a service oriented person who feels it is very important to participate in volunteer activities in your local community.  It started when I joined a service fraternity in college, continued through my 38 years as an educator and is continuing in my retirement years.  Volunteering brings much personal satisfaction in believing you are making a difference, even though it may be very small, in peoples' lives.

2.  What do you do when you are not volunteering?
My wife and I enjoy traveling and we are very fortunate to have seen many beautiful and unusual places in the world as we have observed and interacted in many different cultures.  We cherish spending time visiting with our children, grandchildren and friends.  I also love to attend sporting events at all levels from grade school to professional.  I usually spend part of each day working on Ken-Ken mathematical puzzles.

3.  Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
When you read that Milwaukee is one of the poorest cities in the US, how can you not become involved?  I have had the opportunity to judge on many occasions and in many different settings Hunger Task Force's Mission Statement is in tune with its' everyday practices.  In my opinion Hunger Task Force is such a success because it does "walk its talk" and I am proud to be a small part of a great organization.

4.  Take us behind the scenes.  Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
Listening to, speaking with and assisting low income seniors as they signed up for the Stockbox program and Farmers' Market Food Vouchers was a personally rewarding experience.  You could sense by looking into their eyes how thankful they were and what a difference these programs were making in their lives.

5.  What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
I would say it is very important to pick an organization you believe in and are committed to.  Give it a try and see if it is a good fit between your abilities, beliefs and the activities you are doing.

 

Name: Sharon SivalenkaSharon Sivalenka

Years or Months Volunteering: 6 months

1. Why do you volunteer?
I have been so fortunate so in turn I want to give back. It's feels good to know you're doing something that helps others. I'm one of those people who always likes to be doing something; often times I feel like I have way too much free time on my hands and this is a wonderful way to fill it! Volunteering keeps me out of trouble.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I am an exercise freak. My favorite is to run outside when it is warm out. I also like to travel with my husband and daughter.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
Hunger Task Force is such a great organization they do so much to help so many people in need. They also offer so many different ways you can volunteer, there is a niche for everyone. Also the staff at Hunger Task Force is great to work with, they make you feel so appreciated. They are always thanking me for my time and effort. It's a really nice environment to be a part of.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
This summer I worked on the Stockbox program. I got to work directly with the public helping the elderly sign-up for the program. There are so many people in the Milwaukee area that I met who really need this food program to get by. The people I signed were all so grateful and so many recipients even thanked me for volunteering my time. When you feel their gratitude it really makes you feel like you are making a difference.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Give it a try!  It really is fun.  You get to meet alot of neat people.  There's nothing to lose and so much to gain!

 

Carol FelixName: Carol Felix

Years Volunteering: 1.5 years

1. Why do you volunteer?
Like so many other volunteers, I feel strongly about the importance of helping others and giving back to the community.  Giving monetary donations is certainly one way to contribute, but giving of your time makes the effort much more personal and rewarding.

2. What do you do when not volunteering?
Lots of time spent with family and friends.  Also enjoy reading, traveling, working out.  We're big sports fans (Packers, Badgers, Brewers) so there are always plenty of games to watch and/or attend.

3. Why did you choose Hunger Task Force?
Hunger Task Force has been  high on my list of favorite community organizations for many years.  I've always felt they were providing a very important service by making food available to those in need.  It wasn't until I started volunteering that I became aware of the extent of their programs and the number of services they offer or administer.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
Just recently I had the opportunity to work at several of the Senior Centers in the city signing people up for the Stockbox program and Farmer's Market vouchers.  I was amazed at the turn-out.  At each site, approximately 600 Seniors who qualified for the programs were signed up in a matter of hours.  It felt really good to be able to help out.

5. What advice would you give?
Try it.  The people at Hunger Task Force really appreciate volunteers.  They are friendly, helpful, and do their best to find appropriate jobs for everyone.  You'll meet some great people.

 

 

Name: Irene PotterIrene Potter

Years Volunteering: 7 years. Irene has been running the Unity Church’s’ food drive since she was 93 years old, she turned 100 in August 2010. Shows you that you are never too old to start volunteering!

1. Why do you Volunteer?
I enjoy doing something good for my community and I enjoy working with my Church on the food drive and seeing the money donations coming in and the food box filling up. I enjoy interacting with the people who donate and motivating them to give.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I like to crochet and do word games.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I enjoy the work and gathering food all year long for my community. I am interested in people and like to dress up for the Sunday food collections. It is important to me to be of service.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
A woman brought in food items that someone could open without a can opener for those who do not have cooking facilities or may have to eat directly out of a can.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
You are never too old and I am proof of that so just do it!

 

Name: Gary MetzGary Metz

Years Volunteering: 3

1. Why do you volunteer?
I enjoy watching the good that comes from volunteering.  When working I did not have   that much time to volunteer.  Knowing that I am  making a contribution to society is   another reason.  In the process  of volunteering, I have learned a lot more about different issues.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I enjoy the  outdoors, traveling, working with several other volunteer groups, and doing things with my family. I am also enjoying learning more about photography and a few other new interests. Finding and enjoying some of the great events in Milwaukee and the surrounding areas is another item that my wife and I enjoy.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I knew hunger was a problem, and I thought I might be able to help those in need of help. Doing some volunteer work with Hunger Task Force seemed like a good way to help those going hungry. I did not realize how big a problem hunger was in the Milwaukee area, untill I started to volunteer with Hunger Task Force.  The size of the problem with seniors was something that I did not know that much about before I started to volunteer with Hunger Task Force.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
When I hear or read about all the things Hunger Task Force is doing to help others, I feel great, since I know I am part of the team.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Give volunteering a try!  Volunteering becomes fun once you try it.  The chance to            network and work with others is a great benefit.

 

Name: Rudy WilliamsRudy Williams

Years Volunteering: 2

1. Why do you volunteer?
To help others.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I spend time with friends and my family.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I lke to keep my time occupied and be busy.

4. What do you find to be the most fulfilling part about volunteering?
Delivering to senior citizens and hearing all their "thank yous".

5. What advice would you give to someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Helping others is fulfilling and Hunger Task Force is a very worthy and needed cause.

 

Name: Jason and Pat Mierendorfjason and pat

Years Volunteering: 10

1. Why do you volunteer?
Because we are able to. It’s wonderful to be involved in a program that really makes a difference for such a large amount of people.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
Work, garden, spend time with family, dogs, and friends.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
It is fun to participate in all the events, meet  new people, all while helping  a great cause.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you made a difference.
There are sooooo many. It’s great to be at collections, and see the looks on people’s faces. You can see how good they feel when making a donation. Being there to thank people is important, also, and THAT makes a difference.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Get off the fence, join the fun, and help end hunger.

 

Name: Kirsti KrumsiegKirsti Krumsieg

1. Why do you volunteer?
Perhaps my story is a little different from other volunteers, or maybe not. When I was laid off from my job as a Production Graphic Artist, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I did, however, feel inspired to volunteer.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited to give of myself in a new way and contribute to the community.  I am happy to offer my computer talents, learn new skills and expand my horizons.

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
I’m doing a variety of things, some of which involve various aspects of a job search like networking, taking computer classes, attending workshops, and going through a process of self discovery.  I also volunteer at Milwaukee Achiever Literacy Services as a tutor & assisting with various projects.  In the beginning of 2009, our family found out my mother had cancer, and I was fortunate enough to be able to support her through her chemotherapy treatments.

I enjoy when our family gets together, usually once a month, to share in engaging conversations, delicious meals and sometimes a blockbuster movie or a walk on a beautiful day.  We also occasionally take road trips for a special birthday, anniversary or event.  Sometimes we will even receive visits from relatives in England and Finland.  I’m also the person in the family who is taking all the pictures of our gatherings; I’ve usually got my digital camera with me taking all different types of pictures.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I have felt such a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment giving to a cause so worthy of a human basic need.  I am in a similar situation, so I can relate and empathize with these people.  I feel like I can be an advocate for them.

4. Take us behind the scenes – an experience.
I have enjoyed giving of my computer skills with various projects, but a time that stands out for me is when I first started.  I was involved in a food sort with Harley Davidson employees.  That was an eye opening experience for me.  Working together as a team, sorting various cans of food, knowing they were going to feed those who weren’t able to buy food for themselves.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering.
There is no greater feeling than knowing that you are helping, directly or indirectly, those in need.  Especially in these times of economical and financial difficulty, what a contribution you are serving by giving your talents and time to serving the community.

 

 

Name: Barbara J. Holt

Years Volunteering: since the '80'sVolunteer Barb Holt

1. Why do you volunteer?
To give something back. My life is very, very blessed. In return, I'm following a family tradition to try to make life a little better for others however I can. And, as people who know me would say, it keeps me out of trouble!

2. What do you do when you are not volunteering?
Catch up with relatives and friends, read, walk, do counted cross stitch, generally anything that doesn't involve housework or getting myself organized at home.

3. Why do you choose to donate your time to Hunger Task Force?
I first volunteered with Hunger Task Force for a Letter Carriers Food Drive when their warehouse was located in the Riverwest neighborhood. I came then in honor of my Dad who was a letter carrier in Port Washington for almost 40 years. In the following years, I was able to help with one or two food sorts, or at Summerfest or State Fair Food Drives, for example.

I wanted to spend one day a week volunteering when I retired. Hunger Task Force attracted me over the years because of the variety of opportunities for getting involved but, more than that, because of the dedication of the staff. They are a very special group of people, a real team.

4. Take us behind the scenes. Tell us about an experience you had while volunteering that made you realize you were making a difference.
I was asked to make up 5 Emergency Boxes one afternoon. There was an immediate need as the boxes were to be delivered that night. True, a staff member could have done the same thing. But, they asked me. (As a volunteer, it's fun not knowing what I'll be doing most of the day when I walk in the door! It's easy for me to be pulled away to help with something that has a higher priority then to add it to a staffer's task list.) I don't know who received the boxes but I know the meals I packed in them would feed the recipients for at least one or more days.

Or, there is the graph I put together in 10 minutes (it helps if you've worked with computer programs for over 20 years). The staffer needed a visual showing 31 produce items the Franklin Farm provides to meal programs. It had to show whether they wanted more, less or the same amount of each. It was a delight creating the graph but even more rewarding knowing I'd saved a staff person a lot of time.

5. What advice would you give someone who is on the fence about volunteering?
Give it a try! There is a wide range of options for helping at Hunger Task Force, from contacting decision makers for advocacy to matching names and addresses for big mailings to my favorite, food sorting.

 
 

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Hunger Task Force is a 501 (C) (3) organization.
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