Volunteer Spotlight: Wendy Rogerson

Meet Wendy Rogerson – she is one of our rockstar home delivery drivers and has been volunteering with this program for 14 years!! Thank you for all of your hard work, Wendy!

We have more than 80 people on our home delivery waitlist… as soon as we have more volunteer delivery drivers we can expand this vital service. Visit our site to sign up here: www.udistrictfoodbank.org If you can’t volunteer your time, donating any amount is also an incredible way to support our home delivery service!

When did you start volunteering at the Food Bank?
I started volunteering at the Food Bank in 2010 and was one of their first delivery drivers. I answered an ad in my local neighborhood community newsletter looking for individuals to help jump start the inaugural Home Delivery Program.

The only requirement was a vehicle and the willingness to help vulnerable and homebound seniors. Fourteen years later, I am still delivering nutritious food every Wednesday to over 50 grateful seniors.

What are your typical volunteer responsibilities?
I have two volunteer roles at the Food Bank. I pack groceries for the many home delivery routes and I am also a Home Delivery Program driver. The Home Delivery Program is responsible for packing and delivering groceries to our neighbors who are disabled and/or homebound. Using a preference sheet (basically a grocery list), that is filled out by the customer, we hand pick items that match their choices as best we can. We pack fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, eggs canned goods, prepared meals, toiletries and pet food as needed.

As a Home Delivery driver, I am responsible for bringing the packed grocery bags to our customers’ doorsteps every Wednesday afternoon. The Food Bank currently delivers to 300 households on Wednesdays and another 200 households on Saturdays.

There are currently another 80 people on the waitlist. With 20 different driving routes, there is always a need for drivers. Please consider getting involved in this very important community program as a regular driver or as a substitute driver, which allows you to volunteer as your schedule allows

What is your favorite part about volunteering?
My favorite part of volunteering is definitely the weekly interactions with my home delivery customers. I deliver to a large senior housing complex in Lake City. I am greeted in the parking garage by Jerry (an 89 year old resident and Food Bank customer) who helps me load the grocery bags on carts and then helps me deliver more than 50 grocery bags to the other residents. This community is special and I feel privileged to deliver food to them every week.

They have created a “food pantry” of their own in the community room where they trade items among themselves so nothing goes to waste. They all gather for a cookie or a slice of cake (that I bring from the Food Bank) on Wednesday afternoons and they socialize and exchange the food they received that day.

Why should others volunteer at the Food Bank?
Everyone always says you get more that you give when you volunteer your time. It is so true. Volunteering is fulfilling, it provides a sense of purpose, it connects you to your community, it enables you to meet new people and to learn new skills. The Food Bank is filled with caring, fun, energetic volunteers and staff. Come join us and experience it for yourself!

What else do you want people to know about our Food Bank community?
I want people to know that there are many different volunteer opportunities at the Food Bank. Beyond home delivery shopping and home delivery drivers, there are other opportunities to work directly with food bank customers inside the food pantry, or helping to unpack and sort through the donated food, and even stocking shelves to keep the pantry full.

Another important job is the grocery rescue operation. The Food Bank depends on donations for the majority of its food. The many generous local grocery stores donate amazing food that needs to be picked up on a daily basis. The Food Bank has dedicated vans to do a lot of the gathering. There are opportunities to ride along with Food Bank staff and help them do the heavy lifting, but there is also a need for volunteers to pick up donated groceries using their own vehicles.

I urge people to explore all of the different volunteer roles; there is something for everyone. Feeding our neighbors, our families, and our children is a big commitment and takes a village. Whether you have an hour or four hours to spare every week, please consider exploring the many volunteer roles that are offered and get involved. Donating your time and talent to making sure our NE Seattle community has access to nutritious food is worth it!