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“Everyone has something they can contribute.”
Food Pantry
Volunteers
April 18, 2024

“Everyone has something they can contribute.”

“Everyone has something they can contribute.”

WayForward is celebrating Global Volunteer Month in April and the volunteers who give their time and talents to build food security and housing stability in our community. Last year, more than 1,100 WayForward volunteers gave nearly 25,000 hours to support our programs.

Meet Mark Walther, who volunteers three mornings a week in WayForward’s food pantry warehouse.

Volunteer role: Mark started volunteering at WayForward a little more than a year ago after retiring. He tried out a range of roles before deciding he most enjoyed working in the food pantry warehouse, where he unloads and sorts deliveries three mornings a week. At the end of last year, he got a notification about how many volunteer hours he had accumulated and picked up even more shifts to reach 500 hours of volunteering in 2023. 

How did you get started? My wife is younger than I am, and she’s still working. So she was working from home and I had to be very quiet. So I needed to find something to do. … so I tried everything. I stocked, I cleaned, I went out on the truck for rescues, and I decided that the warehouse was where I belong.

What keeps you coming back? I enjoy the physical work. I enjoy the fact it’s a reason to get up in the morning and go somewhere. Getting up in the morning and having breakfast and reading the paper at home – I would still be in bed right now. So this gets me up and going and gets on with the day, so it’s good for me.  It’s also great to be social with other people. I’ve kind of coalesced a group on Wednesday and Friday – I call them my crew.

What has surprised you about volunteering at WayForward? I’m amazed at how much food comes in and goes out here. A contribution that comes in the front door today will be gone today. And you can’t ignore the need. They’re lined up here at 7:30 in the morning when I arrive and it doesn’t open until 10. 

What would you say to encourage someone else to volunteer at WayForward? You’re doing a good deed. You’re doing something for other people, so that’s always important. But I think it’s good for you to get out and be social and to do some work, and everyone has something they can contribute. People come here from so many different backgrounds, it’s just interesting to find out what people do. I’m always asking people, ‘What did you do before you were here?’ And then I’m amazed.