Bob didn’t grow up volunteering, but he found himself later in life serving in volunteer roles that correlated with his professional roles. He volunteered for many non-profit organizations, lending his knowledge and financial support to entities such as the YMCA, Junior Achievement, Citizens Crime Commission and the Mental Health Association. Still today, he serves on the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greater Tulsa.
Bob and his wife, Joan, were looking for more ways they could help make a difference in the Tulsa community when, through a conversation with resident, George Margalski, Bob learned about the Food Pantry at Catholic Charities and decided to accompany George for a day of volunteering. It didn’t take long for Bob to see how much the Food Pantry was doing for the community and how volunteers really made a significant impact, packaging food and distributing it to under-served communities.
When he got home, he and Joan visited about his experience and it sparked an interest in Joan, too! She went with Bob the following week and they have been volunteering at the Food Pantry ever since.
Admittedly, their previous volunteer experience was much different than what they are currently involved in. This job is very hands-on, less glamorous and more grunge. The essentially sort donated food to pick out the goods that have a shelf life and can be redistributed to those in need. Getting their hands into donated bags of food can be messy, but according to Bob, it’s “good for the soul”.
Volunteering together has sparked many conversations, and a funny by-product of their work has been discovering foods they weren’t familiar with, like dragon fruit.
Joan echoed Bob’s feelings about the importance of helping the community. She says it’s been very eye-opening for them to see how much the food is needed They can tell that their small part helps the overall mission of getting food to people in need – and it’s a fun project for them to do together. ■
April 7, 2022