Volunteer of the Month: Julie Nichols | June 2024

Jun 4, 2024

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.

Julie Nichols is a longtime supporter of the Hunger Task Force mission. After selling her company and finding more time to give back, she has become a weekly volunteer, and she has become one of our top volunteers in terms of hours contributed.  Julie finds fulfillment in helping those in need while staying physically active and is most often found helping pack food for low-income seniors, managing Stockbox DoorDash pickups at our warehouse and digging in at The Farm. We are proud to recognize Julie as our Volunteer of the Month for June 2024!

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

Julie: I was first introduced to Hunger Task Force many years ago doing a Stockbox build sponsored by my company’s “Community Day” campaign. I contributed annually at this work-sponsored service event but got more consistently involved as an individual volunteer last year after we sold our company and I found myself with more free time.

Q: What volunteer activities do you help with?

Julie: It might be easier to list what I haven’t done! I can be found in the Hunger Task Force warehouse packing Stockboxes and coordinating Stockbox DoorDash deliveries. In addition, I have contributed to food sorts, the Badger Box program and odds and ends jobs, like re-packing egg donations. Out at The Farm, I’ve harvested and washed fresh produce, helped in the School Garden and packed Harvest Boxes for low-income seniors. Additionally, I’ve given time with administrative tasks including preparing mailings and packet pick up for local 5k races benefitting Hunger Task Force.

Q: What’s your favorite part about volunteering?

Julie: It feels good to know I am helping those in need. I was looking for something that would keep me physically active and allow me to meet new people.

Q: How did you get involved?

Julie:  After selling our company, I knew I needed a break. Years of desk work had taken a toll, and it was time to get in shape. I saw opportunities with Hunger Task Force to give back and stay active. Retiring officially gave me time to volunteer regularly and meet my health goals. Since starting at Hunger Task Force, I’ve lost 45 pounds and positively impacted thousands of families through my volunteer efforts.

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

Julie: In my career, I found that one of the most fulfilling aspects was working with people I enjoyed. I’ve discovered that same sense of camaraderie at Hunger Task Force—the staff here is fantastic! Staff (and other volunteers) are so welcoming and never miss a chance to say thank you for helping. The work everyone does here is incredibly significant and has a profound impact on the community where I was born and raised.

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

Julie: When I signed up to volunteer at The Farm last spring, I didn’t know what to expect. With no farming experience, I was ready to help with anything. On my first day, we cleaned bee hives, scraping off old, hardened honey from the boxes and frames to prevent them from becoming sticky in warmer weather—fortunately, there were no live bees involved! It was such a unique activity that I never imagined doing. It’s fascinating to see all the work that happens at The Farm and the many ways it benefits the community.

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

Julie: I encourage everyone to give it a try! Not everyone can offer monetary assistance, but donating your time is also valuable. Personally, I wanted a physical challenge. There are many tasks that aren’t as demanding, and the staff understands that everyone has different abilities and should work at their own pace. After years of finding excuses not to exercise, I suddenly had plenty of time. It’s easy to blame age for decreased activity, but I believe it’s never too late to improve your health. I feel better now than I have in 15 years.

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’s core values are Dignity, Justice, Equity, Compassion and Stewardship. Hunger Task Force feeds people today by providing healthy and culturally appropriate food to hungry children, families and seniors in the community absolutely free of charge. Hunger Task Force also works to end future hunger by advocating for strong public policies and nutrition programs at the local, state and federal level.