Volunteers are the heroes of our organization and play an important role in the pantries, economic empowerment, fundraising and volunteer development. We have a special group of volunteer honorees that we would like to recognize for representing this small revolution of kindness.
Bruce Gorrell is a long-time Common Heart volunteer and what you would call a VERY active retiree! This veteran and former commercial pilot is a superhero around Common Heart, “flying” around town twice a week to three different Food Lion stores every week to gather donated groceries. That’s the work of 6 people he’s doing on his own! If that wasn’t enough, during tax season he also has volunteered in our free income tax service for the past 5 years, serving as the site manager for the last 4 years! Over 1,200 hours helping families prepare taxes as a volunteer!
Food rescue is hard work. Bruce doesn’t just pull into a store and get his vehicle loaded. This very important volunteer task involves going into each store, communicating with the workers in each department, packing the donated food, loading it into his vehicle, and transporting the donations to the pantry where he unloads, sorts and puts the food away.
Bruce’s commitment to the cause is outstanding and inspirational. He is a tireless advocate of Common Heart and this small revolution of kindness in our community.
Sara Melchor is a Getting Ahead graduate who’s giving back in so many ways as she works to move her family out of poverty and into stability. And we couldn’t be prouder!
Sara always seems to be in “yes mode” when it comes to volunteering at Common Heart. She’s a Cupboard Ally volunteer delivering groceries once a month, helps provide meals for our current Getting Ahead sessions and serves at our food pantries too. Sara’s a loving Mom too and even her kids come to volunteer to pack food for our hungry neighbors!
As a fluent Spanish speaker she’s extra special to have around during our evening food pantries where we’re seeing more Spanish-speaking families who need food. Sara is able to make them feel comfortable and welcome as she speaks to them in their native tongue. What a blessing!
Sara’s motivation to not be stuck in poverty is inspiring. She gives back and is teaching her children the same. She is breaking that cycle of generational poverty. It’s scary at times, but she pushes forward using what she learned in Getting Ahead and we’re so thankful to have her as part of the Common Heart family.
George and Lien Kent are the definition of teamwork! This amazing husband and wife duo work together to pick up donated groceries several times every month – George drives and Lien packs and loads the food. That might not seem very special until we tell you that they do all this despite the fact that George no longer has any legs!
His adaptive vehicle allows him to not only get around town but he’s using it in a way where they can bless others!
They are an inspirational team, overcoming adversity to serve others. George and Lien are so willing to help others in any way they can, despite a disability that would have kept others from volunteering.
Jillyn Powell is a Cupboard Ally volunteer who consistently goes above and beyond for the families she serves. She delivers groceries (and hope!) to several families each month but has built some wonderful friendships over the years.
This year has been especially tough after one of the families she serves suffered a horrible loss. One of their sons was hit by a car while playing outside and later died. Not long after, the grandmother in this family passed away.
Jillyn, we heard from the mother, was a rock. A very needed helping hand and listening ear during that time. She helped with funeral arrangements, coordinated meal drop-offs and even started a GoFundMe page for the family that raised almost $4,000.
Mom to two teenage girls, Jillyn gives support and encouragement to so many. We know they were right where they needed to be during this tough time. Even though they suffered the loss too, they were a light in a very dark tunnel for these neighbors.