Volunteer Jill Valuch reflects on 25-years of service at Hunger Task Force
When Jill Valuch’s children needed volunteer hours to fulfil the community service requirement at their high school, she got connected with Hunger Task Force. Jill was drawn to the organization and noted that finding an opportunity to fit her interest and skills was a surprisingly easy task. That was nearly three decades ago. Still engaged all these years later, Jill has been able to reflect on her time spent volunteering with Hunger Task Force. “I’m retired now so it gives me something to do. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
Over the last 25 years, Jill has served more than 500 volunteer hours with Hunger Task Force. “I have done everything,” she says. “I’ve sorted food, bagged at the Mobile Market, helped in the warehouse, assisted with administrative needs and worked out at The Farm.” Since Hunger Task Force welcomed back volunteers in March 2021, Valuch has participated weekly, packing Stockboxes at Hunger Task Force’s new warehouse.
“Her flexibility as a volunteer is one of her greatest strengths,” says Kyle Buehner, Community Relations Manager. “Jill can often be found either packing boxes in our warehouse or helping on various office projects, and she’s always available on short notice when we need extra help. Jill also has a unique background in warehouse and inventory management that allows her to provide ideas on how we can continually improve our systems and processes.”
Before retiring in 2016, Jill worked for 35-years in supply chain logistics, installing management systems all over the world. “I worked in food, consumer package goods, electronic and in automotive – pretty much all over.” Calling upon decades of professional expertise, she blends skills gleaned from a lengthy career with her volunteer experience when working with others, “These are areas I know very well – product flow and operational efficiency – so when we’re packing Stockboxes, I help new volunteers or offer for them to follow my lead.”
With over 70 emergency food sites receiving resources from Hunger Task Force, it was not a surprise to Jill that another organization where she volunteers is a current network partner with the food bank, the Bay View Community Center (BVCC). With free time on her hands, she eagerly signed up to assist with the EBT token program, administered by the BVCC, at the South Shore Farmers Market. This program allows SNAP recipients to purchase eligible food using their EBT card funds with tokens of equivalent value. “I’m counting the tokens afterwards and reconciling what was spent, reimbursing the farmers,” she says.
In addition to sharing her time and talents, Jill annually supports Hunger Task Force as a recurring donor. “I’ve been volunteering for over 25 years and have probably been giving for the same length of time,” she shares. “Once you’re aware of the work happening here, it’s easy to also support the organization with donations so they can keep up the good work.” It’s a legacy of service she’s passed on to her family. “Both of my children are now in careers helping people. My daughter works at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and my son works for the police department.”
For those considering a shift with Hunger Task Force, Valuch insists they should take the leap and register. “I would say give it a shot! You can really see your impact – it’s very fulfilling.” For more information on volunteering at Hunger Task Force, visit: https://www.hungertaskforce.org/volunteer/