Dana and Mike

Dana and Mike Want YOU to Join Them as Volunteers

This past year has been different in so many ways, but I am proud to say that the dedication of our amazing volunteers is one thing that has stayed the same. As part of Volunteer Appreciation Month, I had the opportunity to talk with two of those dedicated, amazing volunteers, Dana and Mike Grevenow, who grew their few-times-each-month volunteering into twice-a-week shifts when the pandemic hit. Get to know them:

What compelled you to start volunteering with us back in January 2019?

I was searching online for a volunteer opportunity and came across Second Harvest Heartland. I really liked the focus and reputation of the organization, and I liked the volunteer opportunity – getting our hands in and helping get the food ready for food shelves.

What has volunteering been like during the pandemic? What have you enjoyed getting your hands in?

It’s been great helping with the emergency boxes for the past year. It gets a bit repetitive, but we know it is going directly into the hands of folks who need it – and quickly. Dana loves to pack the bread – it is nice to have a solo project to work at your own speed. Mike is the champion palletizer – and does that as often as he can. At the end of the day, we want to do whatever job is needed – so if no one is volunteering for a job, we will raise our hands to help.

Why is packing and sorting food at a food bank a way you like to spend your time?

Being retired, volunteering is a great way to keep us active and get us out of the house, particularly during the pandemic, and we really enjoy the company of the other volunteers and Volunteer Engagement Ambassadors. It also is also one of the most rewarding ways we can spend our time.

Especially during a pandemic and the hardest year on memory: what makes giving your time and energy to Second Harvest Heartland something you choose to do?

We give of our time and energy to Second Harvest Heartland because the need is so great. We’ve watched the statistics go from 1 in 11 in 2019, to 1 in 8 in 2020, and with hard work, it’s back to 1 in 9 in 2021. We are very blessed in our lives and we retired at a relatively young age, so we have free time, we’re healthy, and we can help make a difference in the hunger fight. I am so glad [the food bank] was able to remain open most of the past year and that we could be a part of creating the 250,000+ emergency boxes that have gone out!

Do you have any advice to give ‘would be’ volunteers? Maybe folks who don’t know what to expect or don’t think they can make an impact?

Come join us! Come by yourself, come with your family, come with your crew, just come join in! It can be physical work, but it’s a fun time, you can make new friends, and you feel good when you’re done – you can see the 500-700 lives you’ve impacted during your shift in the boxes of food that are ready to go out. The Volunteer Engagement Ambassadors make it easy and are friendly, and the environment is safe.

Thanks Dana and Mike for sharing more about yourselves and your volunteer experience! And thank you for the time you give!

I am blown away by the support that our volunteers give. While the month of April is all about volunteer appreciation, we are thankful each day to work together in this hunger fight. Volunteers support many teams and projects at Second Harvest Heartland, and we can’t say thank you enough.

If you are interested in filling an ongoing volunteer need like Dana and Mike, visit our website to learn more about current volunteer openings.