by Paola Juárez
More than 120 volunteers gathered at Hacienda Santa Clara on October 26 to enjoy an afternoon of fun and recognition at Feed the Hungry San Miguel’s annual Volunteer Appreciation Picnic.
The location, food, and drink for the picnic were generously donated by Pablo and Barbara Marvin. All of the volunteers are deserving of recognition for their time and dedication during the 2018-2019 school year, but here we would like to highlight the award winners who went far and beyond to complete their assigned tasks, always with a cheerful attitude. The winners of this year Volunteer Driver and Volunteer Warehouse Packer of the year are, respectively, Andreas Mladek and Peter Goggin.
Driver Andreas Mladek won his award for his commitment, having missed only two pickups in the past five years and being the most reliable driver in 2019. Andreas delivers to one of the furthest communities, where Feed the Hungry serves 200 meals a day. He drives a small VW Crossfit, and it is quite fun to see how he and the staff that help to load the vehicles figure out a way to get everything inside. “Andreas always greets you with a smile, willing to shake your hand, and is one of the few who gets out of his car to greet us and to help load and unload,” said Chip Swab,volunteer driver coordinator.
Packer Peter Goggin had been volunteering as a packer for only a year, but with a take-charge attitude in everything he does. “He is usually the first volunteer on site, he immediately gravitates to cutting up the chicken because no one else wants to do it, then he picks up on every other task that needs to get done before the other packers arrive. He is a self-starter, and always helps everyone else,” according to Jonna Stratton, volunteer coordinator and board member.
Feed The Hungry volunteers are of all ages and backgrounds. The largest group is by far the packers who meet at the FTH warehouse to sort and pack dry and perishable items on Saturdays and Mondays for the 43 locations where the organization operates. The other group is the Tuesday drivers, who start their day at 7:30am to venture out to the communities and deliver food supplies to feed more than 4,700 students. There are other types of volunteering opportunities available, such as photographers, writers, English teachers, and social media influencers.
The board of directors volunteer their expertise in many areas, and are uncompensated. In this way, FTH is able to minimize their administrative costs and pass on up to 90 cents of every dollar that is donated directly to the meals programs.
Feed the Hungry is proud of its large group of dedicated volunteers in this town. When asked to expand the hot meals program to other areas outside of San Miguel de Allende, Al Kocourek, president of Feed the Hungry San Miguel, replies, “We simply could not do it; we rely on the kindness of the volunteers to make this program successful, and San Miguel is the only town that allows for this type of work to get carried out.”
Please click HERE to find out how you can join our volunteer team today.