“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.” Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” – Fred Rogers
Here at the Pantry, we have so many volunteers who are generous with their time and efforts. It’s a fact that the Pantry could not be open 5-6 days a week without these compassionate, caring and hardworking people.
So we wanted to start sharing their faces and stories in our newsletter. These people are heroes in our community, as Fred Rogers so thoughtfully put it. They see the need and eagerly jump in to help.
Each month, we will highlight a different volunteer in the Pantry newsletter so that the community can meet them and learn more about why they volunteer.
For our first Spotlight, we chose Preanka, who started volunteering last October. In an interview, she answered a few questions:
Pantry: Why do you choose to volunteer?
Preanka: The magic of volunteering is that you receive a lot more than you give. Of all the things that I do, I feel the happiest and most satisfied when I have an opportunity to offer myself to others. When you are not the center of your life, you can see into the beautiful lives of other people. I have been volunteering when it is possible for the last 10 years.
Pantry: What made you choose JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry?
Preanka: I moved to Pittsburgh from India a year ago and I was looking for places to volunteer. I heard from some friends about the food pantry. It resonated with me immediately: serving food to those struggling with hunger is very close to my heart. I went online and I found JFCS the same day.
Pantry: Is there a moment or memory that stands out from your time here?
Preanka: One shopper I helped was a homeless man and could only take items that were ready to eat. He was extremely humble and refused to take extra ready to eat products that we offered him. The way he spoke, the way he was, the way he acknowledged the food pantry – it was just very, very touching. I feel so privileged to help such an amazing place doing such wonderful work in our neighborhood. It feels very special to be associated with JFCS.
Thank you so much for being our first Spotlight volunteer, Preanka!