VEAP loves our volunteer corps of 3,000 people! In our Volunteer Spotlight series, we highlight their amazing work and dedication in advancing VEAP’s mission.
When did you get involved with VEAP?
I got involved in September 2019. I had been looking for volunteer opportunities in order to get more involved in my community as well as to get some volunteer experience for my school. My work schedule as a medical scribe is crazy so I was lucky to find VEAP since scheduling is so flexible.
What volunteer roles do have with VEAP?
I work as a Mobile Pantry assistant as well as a shopper within the on-site pantry. Mobile Pantry is my favorite because I get to interact with people out in the community and it’s also given me the chance to learn more about Somali culture while volunteering at Dar al-Farooq.
What keeps you volunteering with VEAP?
I love how it helps keep me engaged with the community. Growing up I was very involved in my community and my family was lucky enough to get assistance with food access, so that motivates me to stay involved and remember where I came from. Having that connection is really important to me.
What makes volunteering meaningful to you?
It’s meaningful to me because of the food assistance I had growing up. I grew up in Indiana and was a part of a Catholic church that helped my family a lot when it came to food access and childcare. In my current daily life, I see so many sick people with preventable health problems that could be solved by healthy access to food. Being at VEAP is a bridge to that – there’s very little I can do yet on the medical end since I’m still in school, but volunteering here is one thing I can do to bridge that need.
Is there a particular moment or favorite memory that stands out from volunteering?
The people in general are all my favorite memories – the other volunteers as well as the participants themselves. One particular memory that was meaningful to me is of a woman at Dar al-Farooq. After their service, she came over to the volunteers and started chatting with us about her faith. It was really interesting to see the overlap between her beliefs and mine.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
Pre-COVID I use to volunteer a lot at the Minnesota Orchestra as an usher. I also help mentor some of my peers on the path to medical school. Other than volunteering, I’m working towards my post-baccalaureate in order to get the knowledge that I need to apply to medical school.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at VEAP?
It’s a great way to get involved in the community especially now when everyone is so cut off from their neighbors due to COVID. It also puts into perspective what you have in your own life. People have varying levels of access to things in their lives and working here can make you a little more grateful for what you do have and what abilities you have to contribute to your community.
Thank you so much, Allison!
If you’re interested in spending time at VEAP like Allison, please consider signing up for a volunteer shift.