Volunteer Coordinator Nicole Mitchell Talks with Longtime Volunteer Bob Edson
Thursdays are extra fun around our Barre distribution center. At 8:30 a.m., while most of us are still wrapping our heads around the day, Bob Edson arrives. He is always sure to greet everyone with a big, heartwarming smile and maybe even a cup of coffee for his lucky favorites. After the round of greetings, Bob is off to help sort and bag food that we distribute to our neighbors in need.
Bob has been doing this every week for the last eight years, and we couldn’t ask for a more dedicated volunteer.
Bob began volunteering with the Vermont Foodbank after he retired. An avid stamp collector, accomplished carpenter, and professional who always worked one or two jobs, Bob always kept very busy. When time opened up in his schedule after he retired, he was eager to fill it.
He reasons that “Life had been good to me, and I wanted to pay that forward by doing what I could to improve the lives of others.” Laughing, he adds, “My wife appreciates having me out of her way once a week as well.” The Foodbank is happy to oblige!
He likes knowing that everything he touches while he is here will help someone who is hungry, giving them good food to cook for their families. Bob works mostly with produce and perishable food items, and he values knowing that he is putting healthy meals on plates all over Vermont.
Because Bob has been here for so many years, he is able to do his work independently. He comes in and knows exactly what to do, and we are so lucky to have his expertise. He saves us time in many ways and has even come up with ideas to increase efficiency in the ways we work. He enjoys the tangible outcomes of his work here. “I experience a true sense of accomplishment after a morning of hard work when I see the pallets of donated food transformed and ready for people to enjoy.”
Bob also keeps coming back because he has built some great relationships with the staff here. He is a very social guy and has become friends with the other volunteers and employees in a variety of departments during his time here. The social side of volunteering can be as much of a draw as the opportunity to do good work. Bob really is a member of the Foodbank family.
It is a wonderful thing to be able to work with Bob. Not only does his work help the Foodbank provide more meals to folks who need them, but also he is a great presence. He helps us all do our work better by kicking our Thursdays off on the right note and setting a great example of how to really make a difference in the world.