Volunteer of the Month: Dale Lenderts | August 2022

Aug 1, 2022

Each month Hunger Task Force is honored to recognize an individual or organization that goes above and beyond in their service to the organization.

Hunger Task Force relies on the help of more than 16,000 generous volunteers every year. From food sorting and building healthy food boxes for seniors to helping individuals shop the Mobile Market and harvesting at The Farm, volunteers help Hunger Task Force feed people today and support our work in ending future hunger.

Dale Lenderts has a long history of volunteering at Hunger Task Force. Since retiring in 2017, Dale has become a regular presence at the food bank, lending his time and talents in the warehouse, at events and on the Mobile Market. Volunteers are central to the Hunger Task Force mission and we couldn’t be happier to honor Dale Lenderts as our Volunteer of the Month for August 2022.

Q: When did you start volunteering with Hunger Task Force?

Dale: My first experience as a volunteer with Hunger Tase Force was with a group from my church. We volunteered for a food sort at the previous Hawley Road location.  The session combined education with work and fun.  I learned that it was important for the fruit and vegetable cans (and the other donated food group items) to go in different boxes on different pallets so that the donated food could be used to replenish the many food pantries that Hunger Task Force supported. That was many years ago.

Q: What volunteer activities did you help with?

Dale: I have tried many different volunteer activities.

  • Food Sorts
  • Stockbox Builds
  • Stockbox and Food Distributions
  • Mobile Market
  • Collecting food at Mitten Fest, St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Wisconsin State Fair
  • Stamp Out Hunger
  • Thanksgiving Turkey Trot and Milwaukee 10-K Run

Q: What’s your favorite part about volunteering?

Dale: My favorite element is interacting with other people. I enjoy meeting other volunteers and have made many good friendships in my volunteer activities.  More rewarding, however, are the comments from the clients that Hunger Task Force serves – they are so appreciative and thankful.

Q: What made you want to volunteer?

Dale: I grew up in a family that emphasized doing things to help others.  When I retired, I had more free time and wanted to invest my time in something that would help me remain active.  Hunger Task Force provided me with that opportunity.  I tried almost every volunteer opportunity at least once and most enjoyed the opportunities that best fit my schedule, capabilities and interests.  I have become a loyal member of the Wednesday-afternoon Stockbox team (that currently holds the record for building 640 stock boxes in one 3-hour shift).

Q: Why did you/do you continue to pick Hunger Task Force?

Dale: I believe in the mission of Hunger Task Force. The people – leadership, employees and fellow volunteers – are wonderful. I have developed many friendships. Lastly, the volunteer experience at Hunger Task Force is focused, well-organized and efficiently run.

Q: What’s been your most memorable experience volunteering?

Dale: I volunteered many times on the Mobile Market.  It is very common at Mobile Market stops to see clients with walkers and/or power scooters waiting in line as the Mobile Market truck pulled up for them to do their shopping.  For many of these folks, it was an effort just to get out to the Mobile Market.  Regardless, they usually waited patiently in line and then welcomed the assistance that Hunger Task Force volunteers provided to assist them with their shopping.  Many times, as these clients left with their recently purchased groceries, they would smile, share a word of thanks and reinforce how appreciative they were for the monthly Mobile Market stop at their location.  It was during those moments that I knew that my volunteer effort that day had made a difference in someone’s life.  While I could easily drive to a grocery store, push a cart and carry bags to get my groceries, these neighbors could not do that.  They needed (and appreciated) the help that volunteers provided in their grocery shopping experience.

Q: What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at Hunger Task Force?

Dale: Dip your toe in the water.  Contact Hunger Task Force and volunteer for one activity.  If you have fun and find it worthwhile, sign up for another event.  Before you know it, you might become an active member of the Hunger Task Force volunteer team!

For more information on how you can get involved, visit: www.HungerTaskForce.org/volunteer/

Hunger Task Force is Milwaukee’s Free & Local food bank and Wisconsin’s anti-hunger leader. The organization provides healthy and nutritious food to hungry children, families and seniors in the community absolutely free of charge. Hunger Task Force was founded in 1974 by a local advocacy group who then formed Milwaukee’s first food bank. Today, Hunger Task Force is 100% supported by the community and provides a safety net of emergency food with dignity to a network of 75 food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters. Through legislative analysis, education and community organizing, Hunger Task Force continues to advocate for anti-hunger policy at the local, state and federal level. For more information, visit HungerTaskForce.org.