This Former Intern Just Couldn’t Stop Helping Others
Maria Shakett didn’t plan on becoming a volunteer. She intended on participating in our 10-week internship program to gain job skills and then seek full-time work. But 10 weeks soon turned into 20 weeks. “I only expected to try volunteering a few weeks,” Maria said, “but I enjoyed it so much, I asked if I could stay on!”
Maria now volunteers twice a week as a SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) Line Volunteer supporting Second Harvest Heartland’s SNAP Outreach Specialists. Maria’s position involves providing support to individuals and households potentially eligible for SNAP. Her role is one of many highly specialized jobs that put volunteers’ individual talents to work.
“I never thought I’d like being on the phone, but once I got the hang of it, it was good.” Maria said. “Most people are really nice to talk to and grateful for the help.”
Although she’s actively looking for full-time work, Maria continues to volunteer at Second Harvest Heartland. She hopes to keep her volunteer position even after she’s landed a job.
“I feel good helping others get back on their feet,” she said. “Hopefully I’m helping people get out of a dark spot, you know? Because I’d want someone to help me if I were in a similar situation.”
In fact, Maria once was in a similar situation and brings that empathy with her when she volunteers.
“I have five siblings,” she said. “We grew up in Wisconsin. My mother stayed at home to raise us. Even though my father worked, money was always tight. At least once we needed to go on food stamps.”
Maria not only volunteers at Second Harvest Heartland, she also generously gives her time to a local cat rescue group. When she’s not volunteering, Maria enjoys studying genealogy, Abraham Lincoln (her favorite president) and reading Anne McCaffrey novels.
Thank you for your dedicated service, Maria!
While many Second Harvest Heartland volunteers sort and pack food in our warehouse, we have a growing number of volunteers who provide specialized talents for long-term projects or an ongoing basis.