AARP volunteers could be found in dozens of Safeway stores last week in the DC, Maryland and Virginia region—all in their signature red shirts. Read on for two more stories from volunteers who spent their time helping to raise more than 45,000 pounds of week in just one week:
“The shoppers at the Boston Street location (in Baltimore) were very interested, and purchased many bags. There was one woman who was pushing her very young child. At one recent time she had to depend on the "Harvest" program for food herself. She purchased three bags.”
-AARP Volunteer Marvin Sakin, who staffed several Baltimore-area Safeway tables for the food drive
“We were pleased that some Baltimoreans cared enough about their less fortunate peers to donate a small amount of money to help feed them.”
- AARP Volunteer Ed Yalow, who staffed a Baltimore city Safeway alongside Marvin Sakin in Baltimore.
Ed also brought his son to help on a return trip to the store several days later.
Meanwhile, AARP Foundation staffer Kelly volunteered with her 14-year-old neighbor, and had several great stories to share about their volunteer experience:
“Volunteering allowed me to reach out to the community to help provide food for those who are struggling to get food.”
-Kelly’s 14-year-old neighbor, who volunteered alongside her at an Alexandria, VA, Safeway.
Kelly had this to say:
“Personally, I have always found it inspiring to volunteer with young people. In my opinion, they volunteer for all the right reasons. I have two sons of my own, both of whom have been active volunteers since they were young. We met several interesting, caring and compassionate people who answered our call to help the hungry by donating to the food drive. Two folks in particular come to mind: We greeted and invited one gentleman in a baseball cap to join us in helping to provide food for the hungry in the community. He acknowledged our request and said, ‘Thanks, not today.’ He then went about his shopping journey and we continued greeting customers as they entered the store to shop. Eventually, I was casually aware of someone behind us in the distance. It was the gentleman in the baseball cap, who had been fixing himself a salad at the salad bar directly behind our table. He approached us, having heard more of our exchange with other customers by this point and handed over $3 saying, ‘I hope this helps.’ We said, ‘Absolutely; thanks for your support!’ Gone again as quickly as he approached, he was off again to complete his shopping. He passed by our table for the last time on his way out of the store, grocery bags in hand. This time he handed us $5, saying, ‘I found this in my pocket and wanted you to have it for the food drive.’ This gentleman’s gesture of generosity and $8 cash—although not the traditional, ‘Buy a $10, pre-stuffed bag of groceries’—reminded me that a modest donation truly provides so much for the food insecure. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion estimates that three nutritious meals using food prepared in the home costs approximately $8. Just $8! So simple, yet so important. A second donor of note was a very engaged women who purchased two of the pre-stuffed food bags and thanked us for volunteering! She told us, ‘This is important; I run a homeless shelter…’ Now I know why she purchased a handful of Safeway gift cards while at the store.”
- Kelly Persons, Program Manager, AARP Foundation, who staffed a donation table at a Safeway in Alexandria, VA.