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? What attracted you?
In 2013 I left my teaching position with South Washington County because I lost my eyesight and in 1 day I ran into 2 different people who told me to go over to VEAP. The universe was telling me I should come here!
What volunteer roles do you have with VEAP? What is your favorite?
Warehouse, Banana Bread, Distribution, and I am “The Book Lady”
Doing the books is my favorite. It started when we moved to this building, there was an announcement that we had a bookshelf but we never had any books so I starting going to bag sales at the library to stock the book shelf. It quickly escalated and I’ve started working with a number of different nonprofits in the city to get books.
We distribute about 200 books/week and this summer we’ve given away over 4,000 books; it was the first time I ran out books until I could get to my next source of books. The best feedback I receive is from the kids or from other volunteers. Another volunteer overhead a boy tell his mom, “This is the first book I’ve ever owned.” I support this project because the number of books you have in your home is the biggest predictor of future academic achievement.
What keeps you volunteering with VEAP?
Each shift is like a family. We meet before or after the shift, we become close, and I look forward to seeing them. Everyone is supportive, updating each other on kids and grandkids, and supporting each other.
Is there a particular moment or favorite memory that stands out from volunteering?
The books and the feedback I overhear from the kids and families. One little boy told his mom, “I’ll be over the in the library.” And I heard another mom say, “This is my son’s favorite part of coming to VEAP.”
I also really enjoy in the summer when people bring in produce from their gardens, we bag it up in the warehouse area, bring it out to the pantry and people take it home. The produce goes right from someone’s garden into someone’s house for their dinner. Farm to table is right here!
What might someone be surprised to learn about you?
I am a 15 year Stage 4 cancer survivor. I taught children with physical disabilities for 36 years.
What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?
I have 5 grandkids, ages 2-7 years old. I also volunteer with many of the organizations where I pick up books: Read Indeed, Reading Partners, Book Em. I also recently joined the Read Indeed board.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering at VEAP?
It is a lot of fun and there is a lot of laughter. You’ll meet lots of interesting, great people. So many inspiring people volunteer here.
Thank you, Nancy!
Are you ready to become a volunteer like Nancy? Sign up today!