“I started volunteering at the pantry after moving to Queens in 2019. We serve a diverse community, but nearly 50% of our clients speak Russian. When I first started, they were so happy to finally have someone who could understand them and help them place their orders. During the pandemic, I also helped call elderly Russian-speaking clients, many of whom are homebound and unable to physically come to the pantry, so they could get deliveries.
I think it takes a special person to be a volunteer – you have to be kind and compassionate. A lot of my fellow volunteers have become my friends. The hard work of the staff also makes everyone grateful to be there, and I am excited to now join the staff as our Food Pantry Translator.
Especially in COVID, volunteering not only helped me feel less isolated, but it gave me a sense of purpose and helped me feel as though I was making a difference among all of the suffering. The need has greatly increased, with more people coming to get food and expanded hours to better serve the community. I keep coming back because I know the difficulties the clients face. They are reliant on me to communicate. Thank god for this place that I was able to come and help.” – Irina