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Volunteer Profile: Toby Jackson
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Volunteer Profile: Toby Jackson
Volunteer Profile: Toby Jackson Toby Jackson served with Food Bank as an Event Lead during the 2021 New York City Wine & Food Festival. Why is Food Bank’s mission important to you? “When COVID hit, I saw how much the pandemic caused so many more people to fall into hard times. I decided that my time devoted to volunteering needed to be more robust and consistent.” What was your most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank? “While I was helping give out groceries at a distribution. I saw everyday New Yorkers with jobs and families suddenly finding themselves in a desperate state. The gratitude for small acts of kindness was heartbreaking.” Tell us about a meal that is special to you and your family. “I would say Thanksgiving. It’s never about the food when we come together. It’s the comfort of home, family, and gratitude for our blessings.” Who inspires you to serve? “My parents were both avid supporters of charitable causes. After my dad retired, he built houses for Habitat for Humanity until he was well into his 80s.”
Volunteer Profile: Rehana Khan
Volunteer Profile: Rehana Khan Rehana Khan served with Food Bank as an Event Lead during the 2021 New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF). Why is Food Bank’s mission important to you? “I’ve worked with many people who have struggled with food insecurity and rely on pantries, including the parents of my students. It’s important that we all understand that food is a necessity, not a privilege.” What was your most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank? “Volunteering at NYCWFF has given me an opportunity to help others contribute to Food Bank’s mission. This experience has taught me a lot about what donating my time as an Event Lead can do for New Yorkers in need.” Tell us about a meal that is special to you and your family. “Any meal that we eat together (usually dinner) is special because I'm grateful to have that interaction. It's what bonds us as a united front against any hardships that come our way.” Who inspires you to serve? “The human spirit. My sense of justice to help others and their smiles as payment is what keeps me going and gives me life.”
Volunteer Profile: Naftaly Henriquez Polanco
Volunteer Profile: Naftaly Henriquez Polanco Naftaly Henriquez Polanco volunteered with Food Bank For New York City during this year’s Five Borough Pop-Up Tour for Hunger Action Month. Why is Food Bank’s mission important to you? "Because there are so many people in my community that go hungry or have to choose to pay a bill over getting a meal." What was your most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank? "Being able to give back to my community and seeing how happy they were to receive help and to get good quality food." Tell us about a meal that is special to you and your family. "Dominican Sancocho, which is a meat and root vegetables stew. This meal signifies comfort and, warmth. It indicates celebrations. It always reminds me how important it is to eat a meal with my loved ones." Who inspires you to serve? "As a nurse serving my community is a passion. The inspiration to serve comes from seeing them express how grateful and happy they are to be served by Food Bank."
Volunteer Profile: V. Jane Orendain
Volunteer Profile: V. Jane Orendain Jane Orendain has served with Food Bank For New York City for seven years as a volunteer supporting the annual New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF). Why is Food Bank’s mission important to you? "As a volunteer at various soup kitchens like The Bowery Mission, The Salvation Army, and St. Bart's Church, I have realized that agencies are dependent on Food Bank for all the supplies they need to be able to serve hungry New Yorkers." What was your most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank? "While serving on the ground across various NYCWFF events, I realized how much every single volunteer is needed to meet the goals of the New York City Wine & Food Festival." Tell us about a meal that is special to you and your family. "Anything that is tasty while providing me with the balanced nutrition I need to satisfy my hunger, while also keeping me healthy and fit!" Who inspires you to serve? "Food Bank's work inspires me to serve because I realize how much organizations like Food Bank are needed to be able to feed those who are hungry in this city."
Volunteer Profile: Christopher Larson
Volunteer Profile: Christopher Larson Christopher Larson has elevated Food Bank's mission across our virtual programs – including writing letters of hope to our clients through our Dear New York Program and amplifying food resources online as a Food Bank Social Media Ambassador. Why is Food Bank’s mission important to you? "Food Bank's mission to end food insecurity in NYC is important to me because, as a registered nurse, I've witnessed the negative health effects that occur due to not having dependable access to nutritious food. The number of people who face food insecurity is alarming, as no one should go hungry." What was your most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank? "I loved personally dropping off letters at Food Bank's Community Kitchen & Pantry in Harlem and seeing people engage with my posts as a Social Media Ambassador. Knowing that one of the letters I wrote might cheer someone up, or one of my posts might connect someone in need to the right resources, makes me happy!" Tell us about a meal that is special to you and your family. "Paella is very special to me and my family. It is the most popular dish in Spain and the ingredients can easily be modified for endless variety! Mi mamá taught me to cook authentic paella and we make it together every time I visit my family in Spain." Who inspires you to serve? "The LGBTQ+ community inspires me to serve – help is always given and equality and inclusion are shown to everyone regardless of background, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Reducing hunger for LGBTQ+ and all New Yorkers is reason enough to serve my community!"
Volunteer Profile: Jessica Acero
Volunteer Profile: Jessica Acero Jessica Acero served as a VITA volunteer this year, inspired to get involved after her family was able to access free tax assistance through Food Bank's program. Why is Food Bank’s mission important to you? "I am inspired by the multiple ways Food Bank gives back to the community, including everything from food pantries to tax assistance." What was your most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank? "The most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank was getting to share how Food Bank's VITA Program helped my mom and me with our family's taxes. When my mom and I filed our taxes with Food Bank, the process was very easy, and we were even paired with a bilingual volunteer to help my mom out. That experience as a tax client inspired me to get involved as a volunteer and made me realize how much volunteering at Food Bank can help families like mine." Tell us about a meal that is special to you and your family. "Thanksgiving dinner is special to my family and me because it brings everyone together, family and friends. Everyone brings their food to share, and sharing food brings us closer together." Who inspires you to serve? "My mom inspires me to serve, along with everyone in my local community."
Volunteer Profile: Simone Jones
Volunteer Profile: Simone Jones Simone Jones serves at Food Bank's Community Kitchen & Pantry in Harlem as part of the Serve The Moment Service Corps in partnership with Repair the World. Why is Food Bank’s mission important to you? "As a native New Yorker, I grew up seeing the tragic impacts of food insecurity in our city. Food Bank’s mission is important to me because food insecurity is unjust, and all New Yorkers deserve consistent access to nutritious food." What was your most memorable moment while serving with Food Bank? "On my first day of volunteering, Food Bank's pantry team was so welcoming. They taught me exactly what goes into each pantry bag and why. I felt like a part of the team from Day One!" Tell us about a meal that is special to you and your family. "Mac and Cheese is a special dish for me and my family. We make it from scratch using my grandmother's recipe!" Who inspires you to serve? "Volunteering has always been a huge part of my life. After my experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa, I promised myself that I would continue to serve my community at home. The communities that I've created both abroad and at home in NYC inspire me to serve."
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