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Volunteer of the Month for August: Michelle Lin

michelle lin food pantry

Michelle Lin is a senior at the High School for Health Professions and Human Services. Since February 2021, Michelle has volunteered over 300 hours at the Commonpoint Queens Forest Hills food pantry.

Michelle is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and hopes to be the first person in her family to go to college, with the goal of studying Biology at Columbia University. Ever since Michelle entered middle school, she took care of her younger siblings and went to work at her parents’ restaurant on the weekends. “My parents wanted me to gain experience working at a fast-food restaurant and see how a restaurant operates,” Michelle explains. “At the restaurant, I got to practice speaking English and math when calculating bills,” she adds.

Michelle discovered Commonpoint Queens through a simple Google search. Asked why she chose to volunteer at the Forest Hills food pantry, Michelle explains: “I learned how to serve clients by working at my restaurant, and I felt that I could use those skills to make a difference in the lives of others and decrease hunger in New York City.” Michelle’s favorite part about volunteering at Commonpoint Queens is her interactions with other volunteers.

“Volunteers at the food pantry treat me like a family. Everyone is nice and respectful to each other. When I need help getting or finding something, everyone tries to help me with what I am looking for,” Michelle explains. Michelle also finds her interactions with the pantry’s clients extremely meaningful, explaining: “After clients get their food, they always smile at me and tell me how they appreciate the work I do for the community. It feels very rewarding to help others.”

If Michelle had one message to share with a large group of people, it would be to “help people whenever you can and start getting involved with your community. It is incredibly rewarding, and at the the end of the day, it will only make you happier.”