Volunteer Spotlight

There are nearly 100 volunteers who selflessly donate their time EVERY week to serve our neighbors in need!  Below are a few of our fabulous volunteers.  Click a name below to find out more.  Check back later for more volunteer spotlights.

Andrew Breakey

Years with TLFB
I started volunteering in September 2016. I came to TLFB after having a hard time finding a job. I thought volunteering would be good work experience and something I could put on my resume. And it was a way to give back to my community.

What is your volunteer role?
I work in the warehouse during the Tuesday evening distribution hours, where I sort food donations into their designated boxes. I also hand out USDA food to our clients.

Why do you volunteer for TLFB?
After I got a job with the state of California, i decided to keep volunteering because I love giving back and helping people in need. I also have a personal connection with TLFB because at one point in my life, my mother came to the food bank in order to feed me and my sister.

What is the best part about serving the clients?
The best part is the feeling you get in knowing you’re helping out people who need food. Providing food to those in need leaves a positive impact on clients’ lives.

What is your current job outside of TLFB?
I currently work for the California Prison Industry Authority as a student assistant in the accounts payable department. I am also a part-time college student pursuing a business degree with a concentration in accounting.

Hobbies or Interests?
I enjoy skiing and surfing.


Doug Johnson

How many years have you been with TLFB?
I started volunteering in Feb 2014, so I’m coming up on my five year anniversary.

What convinced you to volunteer?
While my wife and I attended Lakeside Church one Sunday, they announced a need for volunteers at the food bank. Since I had recently retired and needed something worthwhile to fill my free time, I decided to make myself available.

What exactly is your volunteer role?
I primarily manage the inventory at the 1766 sq. ft. off-site warehouse as well as regularly transport bins of food to the on-site warehouse to be sorted and stocked. I also assist staff in facilitating canned and boxed food sorting parties with company or church groups.

What is the best part about serving the clients at TLFB?
I really enjoy being able to give back to the community, to those who need help. It’s good know that I have something to offer during my retirement years. I especially enjoy it when my granddaughter, Abby, joins me to volunteer at the food bank.

What was your prior career?
I’m a retired IT professional. Prior to my IT career, I served in the Navy and then Air Force and retired as Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force.

Do you have any hobbies or other interests?
I would say my main hobby is working at TLFB. Outside of the food bank, I enjoy wood working, listening to music and watching auto/home improvement shows on TV.


 

Eric Norberg

Role:
Pantry on Wheels Team — Food Distribution –Cardboard Management

The best part about volunteering at Twin Lakes Food Bank:
“Helping the other volunteers bagging or breaking down cardboard – we can always find more things that need to be done.”

Hobbies and Interests:
Golfing

Background:
Retired prison guard

Eric is an amazing volunteer doing whatever is needed around the food bank. In addition to helping with food distribution and delivery to senior centers, Eric has taken ownership in managing the enormous amount of cardboard waste generated by food bank operations. He helps break down the boxes and delivers them to the recycling center. Many thanks to Eric for doing this important work at TLFB!


Gerry Stone

Role:  Garden Supervisor

Years with Twin Lakes Food Bank:  6

The best part about volunteering at Twin Lakes:
Working with other volunteers to serve.

Hobbies and Interests:
Hiking and traveling

Background:
Gerry served in the Navy for four years, living in Japan for two of those years. He has two grown children he raised in Folsom.

Prior or current career:
Architectural Design

Gerry works in the garden year round growing fresh produce to provide to our clients.
We can’t thank Gerry enough for his tireless efforts in coordinating the planting, maintenance and harvesting of nearly 80 raised garden beds.


Jonathan and Deborah Farmer

How many years have you volunteered? Deb (5 years) and Jon (4 years)

How did you hear about TLFB? Trinity Episcopal Church

Volunteer Roles:  Deb (Warehouse) and Jon (Driver/Sorter)

Who encouraged you to volunteer? Another TLFB volunteer and friend, Alice Ross.

What has been inspiring and/or challenging about working with the clients?
Inspiring – Our clients who come in with a smile on their faces and a good attitude.
Challenging – Our clients who come in without a smile or are having a bad day.

How do you see the world differently as a result of your experience at TLFB?
We see our homeless clients in a more compassionate light. I see our seniors having such a hard time making ends meet, that I’ve never considered before; it saddens me.

Prior careers before TLFB:
Deb (Land Surveyor) and Jon (Accountant)

Other organization/church that you volunteer for:
HART of Folsom, Trinity Thrift Shop, Powerhouse Ministries
Track Ambassador for Sonoma Raceway

How do you spend your time outside of TLFB?
Other volunteer jobs and traveling.

What do you wish people knew about TLFB?
That we go out into the community to Folsom Lake College and to our friends at Mercy Care Center to serve groceries. Our Angels on Wheels program, the delivery of groceries to housebound individuals, is something we wish more people knew about.


Judy Becerril

What led you to volunteer?
Following retirement, I knew that I wanted to give back to my community.  I learned about the Twin Lakes Food Bank six years ago, while working part-time at the Folsom Mercantile Exchange Antique Mall, when a food bank representative came in to recruit auction items for their Gala.  At the same time, I found out that a colleague of mine was volunteering there, and decided to get involved. 

Where do you serve/volunteer?
I started volunteering as a clothing sorter in 2013 and when the clothing closet program ended two years later, I moved to the bagging department as well as sorting refrigerated food items that came in from the local grocery stores on Tuesdays.  Now, I volunteer on Mondays as well to sort eggs. I’m considered the Egg Lady around the food bank, ensuring that each carton of eggs we distribute is intact with no cracks or leaks, just like you would expect when going to the grocery store.  

Why do you volunteer for TLFB? 
I enjoy helping people in need, and have had profound encounters with some of our clients. I remember one homeless client named Joe, who was always respectful and polite when he came in for food. One day, he walked in with tattered jeans, only held together by safety pins — it broke my heart. I asked Joe if he would accept some gently used clothing that I had. He was so appreciative. It’s hard to explain, but I feel like God was using me in that moment to make sure Joe knew that he mattered and deserved attention and care.

The best part about serving the clients at TLFB? 
I get to be a source of hope for the people who come that are hurting and seem hopeless; I get to give away smiles and hugs that cost nothing, yet bring such gratitude. My heart is happy when I get to know a client, truly listen to them, and for a client to return interest and respect for me.

Current job outside TLFB? Or prior career?
I am a retired Supervisor of the Cashier Unit at the Board of Equalization where I worked for 23 years.  Concurrently, I had a merchant booth at the Folsom Mercantile Exchange Antique Mall on Sutter Street for 20 years, selling primarily kitchenware, jewelry, and toy collectibles. 

Other organizations that you volunteer for?
I served on the board for the Sutter Street Merchants Association for eight year as treasurer.  I also volunteer for the Folsom Historical Society during Evaluation, when people come to the museum with an antique item to learn its worth from valuation experts in a particular field.

Do you have other hobbies and interests?
I stay connected with friends from junior high school to former colleagues from the Board of Equalization and fellow antique merchants; we have lunch, play bunco and other games. I like to browse antique stores and collect dolls and Vaseline glass.


Merlina Castro

How long have you volunteered at the food bank?  
September is my one-year anniversary volunteering at the food bank.

What is your volunteer role? 
Registration. I greet and register clients coming in to receive food on Wednesday mornings.

Why do you volunteer for for TLFB?
I truly love helping people and enjoy working with the other volunteers and staff who are all so kind, friendly and generous. Everyone works hard to help the community and has fun and great laughs with each other while doing it.

What is the best part about serving at TLFB?
It is awesome to interact with the clients and listen first-hand how grateful they are for the groceries that the food bank provides their families.

What do you do outside of TLFB?
I am a full-time mom to my four year old daughter, who keeps me busy. Prior to volunteering at the food bank, I was a store manager in the retail-clothing sector.

Interests and hobbies?
I enjoy reading, working out and training for half marathons, cooking Filipino (obviously), Italian , Mediterranean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Mexican food. I look forward to furthering my education and career choices in the near future.


Mitch Pickering *

How long have you been volunteering?
2 years.

How did you hear about TLFB?
I researched the closest food bank to my home to be able to volunteer.

What is your volunteer role?
I distribute produce to our clients and weigh the amount of out-going groceries.

What encouraged you to volunteer?
My son needed community service for Boy Scouts and the Director asked if I would consider volunteering.

What is inspiring and/or challenging about working with the clients?
In spite of inclement weather (since produce is distributed primarily outside), it is always a joy to provide healthy food to those in need and be able to work with a great team.

How do you see the world differently as a result of your experience here?
I realize how fortunate I am; I’m compelled to give back to the community every week.

Prior career before volunteering at TLFB?
In 2015, I retired as a Clinical Coordinator RN at Mercy General Hospital Operating Room after a 38 year career.

Other organizations/church that you volunteer?
I serve as the Assistant Scout Master for Troop 217 in Fair Oaks and attend Bayside Folsom Church.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I spend time with my son and his activities. I enjoy downhill skiing, kayaking and traveling.

What do you wish people knew about TLFB?
The mission of this food bank is vital to assist individuals and families in food crisis.


Robyne Cortes

What influenced you to volunteer?
About 6-1/2 years ago, my husband and I were looking to volunteer somewhere together locally. Twin Lakes sparked our interest and when we talked to the staff, we knew we had found the perfect place.

What is your volunteer role?
Bagging mainly, although I’ve cross trained in several areas.

What excites you to volunteer every week at TLFB?
I love serving our clients, seeing the beautiful faces and listening to stories of the families that stop by. Some days are more challenging than others,but my heart is full every time I leave my shift.

What is the best part about serving the clients at TLFB?

The warm smiles, the hugs, the true appreciation of our families that I meet. My heart aches especially for our homeless friends living out in the elements. Kids and families that have no place to call home break my heart. I know that sometimes all it takes is a caring heart, a listening ear and a warm hug to make someone’s day. I have lots of stories about my interaction with our homeless friends. It really puts things into perspective and creates a true appreciation for life and everything I have.

What does life look like outside of TLFB?

I am fortunate enough to be retired! I founded and operate a small community organization, called Craft 4 Change, where we partner with other non-profit organizations to create things people need. I have a small home-based business, called Re-Love Boutique, where I upcycle and make things from recycled materials. 50% of my profits go to Cottage Housing’s Youth Skylab programs, where I also teach arts and crafts to former homeless kids.

What were you doing before retiring?
I was in the printing business for 15 years.

Do you have time for anything else?

Oh yes! I enjoy crafts, sewing, gardening, cooking, wine tasting, camping, hiking, floral arranging, beachcombing, and decorating for Christmas.


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