Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: John Sullivan

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April 6, 2015 By: Sara Blair - Senior Communications Coordinator Category: Volunteer

Growing up in Southern Minnesota in the 1950s, John Sullivan remembers moving from a farm to the outskirts of Albert Lea. For John, there had never been a shortage of food on the farm, and in Albert Lea, his father kept food on the table as he worked in a meat packing plant and as a butcher on the weekends.

That’s why the conditions of their neighbors were so striking to John and his family. “On the town outskirts, there were people without running water and food. My family would help,” said John.

The importance of food has stuck with John, and now—sixty years later—he remains committed to meeting his neighbors’ basic need for food through simple acts of service.

John has volunteered in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) program for more than 15 years, helping low-income seniors pick up a monthly box of food at Second Harvest Heartland’s Maplewood CSFP drive-thru.

Through his tenure at Second Harvest Heartland, John has seen Second Harvest Heartland become more efficient and grow its fresh food distribution to seniors.

John has made friends with his fellow volunteers, but says that getting food to people who need it is his true purpose for volunteering three hours a week.

Working toward ending hunger in our communities, John feels rewarded by his daily contributions. “At the end of the day, you have something you can point to. You can see the results,” said John.

John Sullivan recently retired from his position as a professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, where he began teaching in 1970 and served as the Chair of the Department of Political Science from 2004-2007.


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