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 start volunteering at VEAP?
In September 2009, which was just a few months after I retired from my job as an assistant to 5 brokers in a wealth management firm. My original plan after I retired was to find a part-time job. I soon learned that many part-time jobs pay minimum wage, so I thought, if I don’t need the money and if I can get by without it, then I will volunteer. I knew that 2 of my former coworkers volunteered at VEAP plus it’s very close to my house so I came in and started volunteering!
What volunteer roles do you have with VEAP?
I work in the Warehouse as a shift lead 3 days/week; I also bake banana bread (sometimes zucchini bread) in the NEAT Kitchen; I’ve served on a number of committees including the Gala, ATTV, and Hospitality. I also help with the end of year inventory and cleaning of the pantry.
What is your favorite volunteer role?
My favorite role is warehouse or stocking. I really enjoy seeing how grateful the clients are that they can come here. They are not only grateful about the food, they are grateful for the volunteers too.
What keeps you volunteering with VEAP?
Most importantly, helping the clients. And, I really like the people that I work with! Each shift is with different people and each shift is like a little family- we get to learn about our families, kids, and grandkids. I was already a widow when I started volunteering and the volunteers have been here to support me through the losses of my son and mother. Plus, I just don’t sit still! I’m a Type-A person. There was no way I was just going to stay home by myself, I really enjoy being around people.
What do you enjoy about volunteering?
I really enjoy coming in. I look forward to working with people. If I didn’t enjoy the people, I don’t think I would come in.
Is there a particular moment or favorite memory that stands out from volunteering?
When I was in the pantry once a client asked me if we had any banana bread available; he had some before and enjoyed it. I went back to the walk in freezer and brought him a loaf. I thought to myself, you’re talking to the right person!
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a 100 years old! Haha! I was born 2 months early and I only weighed 3 pounds 2 ounces at birth. I was in an incubator for 2 months and they fed me with doll bottle. I was very fortunate to make it because my mom delivered my still born twin 2 hours after I was born; the Dr. did not know my mom was going to have twins until she was on the delivery table. My aunt was in nurses training at same hospital I was born at in Chicago, I still have the picture she took holding me next to a regular size baby.
For the past 24 years, I have also volunteered at Creekside for Loaves and Fishes. I volunteer 6 times a year for the meals and each time I bake 200 cookies! I like to go out of my way to help somebody.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I go to Curves every morning. I garden although I don’t love it I still do it. I enjoy going to Twins games and I go to Las Vegas several times a year to visit my son and his family. I have 2 grandsons in Eagan and 1 grandson and 1 granddaughter in Las Vegas. I enjoy scrapbooking. Earlier this year I went to Hamilton in Chicago and I was fortunate enough to get tickets for the show here in September. I also love thrift shopping and finding a good deal!
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at VEAP?
It is very gratifying to help those in need, you will work with wonderful people, and you will get a lot of satisfaction out of doing it. VEAP staff are very dedicated!
Are you ready to become a volunteer like Joyce? Sign up today!