Voices of Hunger Relief - Mary McDonald
Voices of Hunger Relief
Commodity Supplemental Food Program Distribution Representative
As Mary McDonald drove to her bookkeeping job in downtown Minneapolis three years ago, she had a realization: She wanted to make a living out of making a difference. And having volunteered with Second Harvest Heartland, we were her first choice. So Mary quit her bookkeeping job to volunteer full-time with Second Harvest Heartland in hopes of eventually landing a meaningful career with the food bank.
Five months later, Mary was hired as the front desk receptionist. As the receptionist, Mary served as the front line of contact for anyone entering the doors of our Maplewood facility. She enjoyed the interaction she had with clients, volunteers and partners on a daily basis—leading her to her current position as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) distribution representative.
“When I was the receptionist, I knew I wanted to eventually work with the CSFP program because of the client interaction. It’s so great because it’s one-on-one giving. You meet the families, and then moments later you’re providing them with the food they need,” said Mary.
In her current position, she oversees the drive-thru where Nutrition Assistance Program for Seniors (NAPS) clients pick up their monthly boxes of food and manages the homebound delivery program, along with the 80 volunteers it takes to run the program.
Mary’s favorite part of her job is her daily interaction with seniors and their families. “I enjoy meeting families that come in to sign up for the program,” said Mary. “It can be very emotional—many people will say that 10 years ago they’d never have expected to be in the position of asking for help. I want people to feel respected and equal, because at any point in our lives any of us could need help.”
In addition to her day job, she also volunteers for Second Harvest Heartland as a homebound delivery driver where she delivers a box of food to two homebound seniors once a month.
“My two homebound seniors are special to me—I’ve developed relationships with them beyond the simple exchange of food. They will call me just to talk and I often check in on them a few times a month to make sure they’re okay and offer any support they may need,” said Mary.
It’s that spirit of giving that makes Mary an integral part of our team here at Second Harvest Heartland.