By Maureen McNair.
Last month, I bought a condo in a small town in the Sierra foothills. I am going to keep my house in Chula Vista where I have lived for 33 years and remain a member of FUUSD. However, I intend to spend significant time in northern California in a quiet place that is both close to nature and many cultural events. Operating the food pantry requires hands on labor and interacting in person with volunteers and clients. While I will always be the pantry Founder, I am shifting my status to something like Coordinator Emeritus at the end of this month. Various voices will take over this blog starting next week. In addition, I have trained a team of familiar faces to run the pantry.
There are three core pieces of pantry life that always have to be kept in balance — acquiring food, organizing and training volunteers, and managing clients. Former church member Sophia Lopez-Zimmer firstname.lastname@example.org is acquiring food now from both regional food banks and retail donors. Deirdre Lonergan email@example.com is recruiting, training, and scheduling volunteers. Bella Furth firstname.lastname@example.org continues with her long time job of taking in new clients, collecting, and reporting mandatory data.
They are part of a team I assembled over a year ago. I put together the team by inviting every church member who volunteered at the pantry at the time to join. The other die-hards on the team are Armin and Rhea Kuhlman, John and Peggy Holl, Nina Douglass, and Valerie Jaques. We have met by Zoom many times to make decisions together.
Because of your continuous support, the South Bay Food Pantry is now in its third year. We have dozens of well-trained reliable volunteers, provide several tons of nutritious food to over 1,000 individuals each Saturday, enjoy good relationships with both regional food banks and several retail donors, received a public service award from the City of Chula Vista, and have a dedicated suite at our South Bay campus for which we are grateful to you all that we are able to pay for all the rent, utilities, and insurance. In addition, every Sunday teams of volunteers distribute free diapers and period products for dozens of individuals through the organizational skills of Mindy Hochesang. email@example.com
I am proud of our eﬀorts to co-create such amazing programs. The only way I could leave it is with certainty that the volunteers who remain have the skills and dedication to acquire food, recruit volunteers, serve clients, and operate the pantry as a business. As Winnie the Pooh said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
And, luckily for you all, my church family, I bought a condo with access to three guest rooms! No further invitation is necessary. If you want to come visit Grass Valley for hiking or a music festival, just let me know, and I will see when a room is available. My contact information is in the Member Directory. Until then, and as always, please remember “service is our prayer.”
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