When did you start at the Food Bank?
I started in January 2020 as a checkout person inside the Food Bank. Covid-19 hit Seattle shortly after that and we shifted operations outside. I was asked to be a greeter and chat with shoppers while they waited. It was getting to be spring, and I loved being outside with people.
Tell us about being a greeter at the Food Bank?
The people here is the best part. I know the community well now – after two years of seeing the same people our regulars become my friends. I’ve gained about 2000-3000 friends working here! When people don’t come one week, I miss them.
I love speaking to them while they wait and keeping them company. Sometimes it’s standing in the rain for hours. I often like to walk around and sing and one of our customers says she comes just to hear me sing.
I’ve always been a customer service-oriented person and simply enjoy talking to people. Previously I owned a construction company where I would rebuild houses for bed and breakfasts in Tacoma and Auburn. I moved to Seattle in 2011 after meeting my wife through an accidental text and phone call where we just started talking.
What do you enjoy about the Food Bank staff?
The directors have a gift when it comes to hiring and the staff fits so well together, it’s like a family. I often am told how much I’m missed when I’m not there. The staff is so close because everyone has a common goal of making sure people’s needs are met. A lot of our shoppers are homeless and struggling, they are vulnerable and need someone to talk to. Everyone here understands that.
Every part of our team must work together because we’re dealing with so many parts that are interconnected. From food purchasing and donations to getting the food here, to the sorters who check for quality, to stalking our shelves. From there we have volunteers who shop for people and they need to be picky and not just throw things together you want the person receiving the food to enjoy it and to feed their family with pride.
This is where volunteers come in; without them this full range of operations would not happen at the level it does. They are so appreciated.
What else do you want people to know?
I feel like it’s my calling, to make people feel loved. Everyone has to eat, and we are here to help people from all walks of life. Our team knows how to meet people where they are without judgement, it’s been amazing to be a part of.
Our older customers have so many stories. They talk with me and want to share and be heard, their stories are so rich. I feel honored to be a part of it.