“Why I volunteer” – I started volunteering at F.O.R. Maricopa as a means to remind me that there is always something bigger going on than what’s in my own personal world. These days it’s very easy to get caught up in the fussy boss you can’t please, the bill that just came in, family pressures, etc. I also couldn’t stand the fact that everything in life is “me” focused. As a society the whole nation seems to be built on that premise. I wanted to do something that made a difference to someone, somewhere. Also I believe a lot of people, myself included, are one or two paychecks away from being in a position of struggle. I remember my family needing help; I remember facing foreclosure and repossession as a teen, on multiple occasions. It made a huge impact on me. As much as I get to play a very small role in helping families, I get a lot out of it. I’ve made friends, which I would not have come across as a bystander in Maricopa thinking “I’m sure they don’t need me, they must have what they need”. I’ve also planted roots in a community that I have every intention of staying in for a long time. For someone who moved every year and a half as a kid, it feels great! The friends I’ve made have valuable information to share, great stories, and huge hearts. Most of all they, and the food bank remind me to move myself out of the focus more often.
Mike Durbin has been helping out at F.O.R since 2010, making his presence felt behind the scenes in a variety of ways.
Whether it is boxing up foodstuffs, riding in the food bank’s refrigerated truck to help load and unload food pickups or collecting donations, Mike has truly been an asset to F.O.R.
“When somebody’s not there on the truck, I’ll jump on,” Mike said. “Whatever Wendy’s got going, whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas or whatever, I’m always glad to help.” It is through the effort of volunteers who selflessly toil behind the scenes that the food bank continues to function smoothly and serve the hundreds of people in need each week that it does.
Wendy Webb noted that she “finds Mike to be an invaluable part of our foodbank family. He is always willing to help and does so with a great attitude of service”. Mike said the work he does at the food bank is enjoyable, especially being able to meet new people in his fellow volunteers and help those in his community that are in need.
Erin Wheeler and Brandy Johns
The latest volunteers at F.O.R. Maricopa to be spotlighted for their hard work and service are Erin Wheeler and Brandy Johns. Both of these women have taken an active role as
the human element of the “resources” side of F.O.R., after having given food at various drives and wondering what more they could do to help. For the past year, the pair have been carrying with them the non-profits’ main line a week or so at a time to answer questions to those calling in about where help can be found for problems of all shapes and sizes.
According to executive director Wendy Webb, who used to carry the phone for F.O.R. herself the first two years the organization was in existence, having these two volunteers is a big relief and help even if much of their work goes on mostly behind the scenes. “Resourcing people every day can be a lot,” said Webb, who is hopeful to gain even more volunteers to help man the phones for F.O.R. Maricopa. Johns said doing so only took a few hours of training and is not something people should be nervous about pitching in to help with. “It’s really pretty easy and you get to help people out,” she said. “I love being able to provide people with that sense of relief … especially when you have people calling and are in such a tough situation that they don’t even know where they’re next meal is going to come from.” Wheeler and Johns are given a binder that not only provides information about the services F.O.R. provides, but also any other related services from other area non-profits, as well as from county, state and federal agencies. Wheeler, who is a stay-at-home mother to two young boys, said being able to take the F.O.R. phone and still be at home was a way for her to be able to serve. “I am a believer in Christ who felt like I was just listening in the church pew on Sunday and not acting out what I learn during the service,” Wheeler said. “Answering the phones for the food bank has filled the gap between being able to serve others and serve my family as well. It is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.”
There are numerous ways to volunteer at F.O.R., and just like in Erin’s case, not all of them require you to be at the facility itself to do them. Click HERE to learn more about how to get involved.ones for the food bank has filled the gap between being able to serve others and serve my family as well. It is one of the most
Max and Mary Kiburz
Meet this month’s volunteer superstars, Max and Mary Kiburz – also known lovingly as M & M. The Kiburz’s
have been part of helping at the F.O.R. Maricopa Food Bank for the last 3 years. Snow birds from Colorado, who have called Maricopa their winter home since 2004, Max and Mary, reached out with a heart of service in 2008 to see if the local food bank needed help serving Thanksgiving meals. Max and Mary have been privy to the amazing growth the food bank has seen each year as they come back. For example in 2008 they helped serve 100-150 families a week and now in 2011 we are feeding, with their help, 300-350 families a week. Each year that they return, they are able to see the changes that have been made in the small trailer that is used and the routines that have changed and adapt very quickly and jump right back in to help. “At the food bank we do a variety of activities including driving to the store to pick up donations, baggin ggroceries, carrying out bags to the recipients, cleaning freezers and refrigerators (I’m pretty sure this is Mary’s favorite job 🙂 ) and picking up litter.” Mary and Max wrote in an e-mail interview. Caring for others doesn’t just stop when they leave Arizona in the spring, as they help out at their local food bank in Colorado during the rest of the year. As the director of the food bank, I love volunteers like Max and Mary. They are reliable with great service attitudes and they are a whole lot of fund to work with. You can’t ask for more than that. We look forward to their return every year and we tease them about leaving whein it’s time for them to go. It is just like family. Each year I get to know them a little bit better and wish they would stay a little bit longer but…if it wasn’t for the hot weather, I’m sure we could convince them to stay longer hint hint…