By Nina D, Pantry Volunteer
Volunteer participation with the South Bay Food Pantry has led folks like Jeff and me to many valuable new experiences, relationships, and awareness we otherwise would not have developed. A recent example is with the Sunrise Chapter of the Chula Vista Rotary Club.
Several months ago, as pantry leadership was preparing for increased numbers of guests for our special distribution of protein-rich and shelf- stable products, Deirdre Lonergan reassured us that volunteers for the Rotary Club would be joining us for that day, thanks to Gina Woodard, a pantry volunteer who is also a Rotarian. Deirdre was right to anticipate that the Rotarians would be a big help. They jumped right in with an upbeat spirit, worked hard, and provided helpful feedback.
Following the special distribution, the local Sunrise Rotary Club asked for a pantry volunteer to meet with their group to provide more information about the pantry and our needs, so that they could identify other ways to support our work. Before the meeting, I read up on the Rotary, and discovered that while the Rotary is a civic, non-religious and non-political organization, it shares some common values with us Unitarian Universalists. Their mission statement reads: “We provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.” At the meeting, the pantry’s needs included a request for help to obtain adult diapers, which are an expensive necessity that many pantry clients have requested.
The Rotarians recognized that the need for incontinence products is a highly personal one, and that providing such items to people who must choose between purchasing them or food or other basic supplies promotes dignity. Last week, they donated a carful of adult diapers and other hygiene products to the pantry.
At distribution last Saturday, a 40ish year old pantry client/volunteer confided that they have required diapers since their prolonged ICU hospitalization for Covid-19 infection. Another client who is also a volunteer was glad to be able to bring a package to her mother. The supplies were soon gone, but they helped meet a community need. The pantry volunteers are grateful for our developing relationship with the Rotarians, and for their responsiveness to our shared community.
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