Ocean Shores Food Bank director Leon Brauner.

Ocean Shores Food Bank director Leon Brauner.

The director of the Ocean Shores Food Bank has been named the recipient of the 2016 AARP Ethel Percy Andrus Award for Community Service for Washington State. The Andrus Award is AARP’s most prestigious and visible state volunteer award for community service.  AARP Washington selected Leon Brauner for his remarkable service which has greatly benefited his community, supported AARP’s vision and mission, and inspired other volunteers.

“Leon’s work with the Ocean Shores Food Bank stood out both for his own contributions and how he’s inspired others,” said AARP Washington Volunteer State President Mike Tucker. “His leadership in developing a food bank model that is being adopted by food banks around the state is impressive. The devotion of the volunteers that he leads and his dedication to serving people who are hungry in his community make him an excellent choice for the AARP Washington Andrus Award.”

Under Leon’s leadership, the Ocean Shores Food Bank has grown to over 50 volunteers from the 15 he had when he started and serves nearly 400 families on a regular basis and another 600 in emergency situations. Last year, the volunteers logged more than 7,200 hours of service. The Food Bank has also put in place a “Good Nutrition Policy” plan, led by volunteers who taken online university training.

“Not only do we serve our clients food, we try to build self-esteem, show concern, and spread a little happiness and love to those who desperately need it”, says Leon.

The Award is named after AARP’s Founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus. AARP’s commitment to volunteer service can be traced back to Andrus, whose motto “to serve, not to be served” has shaped the AARP community service efforts at the national, state, and local levels. Each year, AARP honors the legacy of Dr. Andrus with the AARP Washington Andrus Award for Community Service in each state. Leon was selected by a committee comprised of AARP volunteers and state staff members which considered nominations of worthy volunteers from around the state. AARP Washington will be giving a $1,000 donation to a charity of Leon’s choice.

Runners up Dan and Joyce Leonard of Colton, who advise seniors on health insurance issues through the SHIBA program, and Mina Ross of Spokane, who works on behalf of homeless veterans, will also receive $500 to donate to a charity of their choice.

“This award acts as a symbol to the public that we can all work together for positive social change,” says AARP Washington State Director Doug Shadel.  “AARP has long valued the spirit of volunteerism and the important contributions volunteers make to their communities, neighbors, and the programs they serve.”