Volunteer Spotlight of the Month: Axel Cabrera

December 10, 2013 By: Sara Blair Category: WordPress Import

Every Monday, Axel Cabrera looks forward to seeing some of his favorite people who will visit Second Harvest Heartland to pick up their monthly Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) box of food. Axel’s connection with the people he serves has become the most rewarding part of volunteering with Second Harvest Heartland.

“Some people only come on Monday because they know I’m here, and that’s really healthy for me to realize,” Axel says. “Most of the people I serve have more impact on me, but they don’t know that.”

That’s why he volunteers weekly in the CSFP drive-thru helping seniors, mothers and children pick up their monthly boxes of food. He also personally delivers CSFP boxes to three homebound seniors once a month.

“I need to help others. It’s part of who I am, and it’s something one can do easily,” he explains.

His homebound delivery route only takes an hour to complete each month, but Axel found himself planning longer visits to the seniors he serves as he got to know them. “I always schedule 30 minutes because we end up talking for 15 or 20 minutes. I just give them stuff. They give me so much more than that.”

Growing up in Guatemala, Axel experienced food insecurity first-hand as his family regularly received food assistance as a child. Axel has also witnessed how hunger affected many of his own students throughout his 30 years as an educator in the United States. Whether at his school in Milwaukee; Ventura, Calif., or St. Paul, Minn., Axel saw students not only feel the physical effects of hunger, but suffer from the stigma of poverty.

As a volunteer at Second Harvest Heartland, Axel has found a role where he can make an impact and have meaningful interactions with the people he serves.

Axel feels lucky to have connected with many clients on a personal level. As he explains, “People give us gifts all the time, and it’s up to us how we receive them. That’s why I volunteer.”


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