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.

Lenny Crocker

How long have you been volunteering?

4 years

How did you hear about TLFB?
I relocated here from the Bay Area and my cousin, who is a volunteer, told me to check it out.

What is your volunteer role?
I volunteer 2-3 days a week and do a little bit of everything. Some days, I work in the bagging room or the warehouse to make sure the shelves stay stocked. Thursdays, I volunteer on the Pantry on Wheels (POW) team.

What is inspiring and/or challenging about working with the clients?
It makes my heart feel full to know that I am doing something good for others.

Prior career before volunteering at TLFB?
In my earlier years, I worked as a numerical control operator for a precision sheet metal company.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I enjoy cooking, especially Guamanian recipes that my Grandma taught me. I am also a diehard 49er football fan.

What do you wish people knew about TLFB?
The staff and volunteers are the best. I came to Folsom with no community and this place welcomed me. Some of them have become good friends. This is a place where you can be accepted and known, faults and all.

Marjorie Shideler *

How long have you been volunteering?
I started volunteering 12 years ago, in the clothing ministry for a few months before moving to the registration desk.

What is your volunteer role?I am a registration volunteer who greets and registers any client that comes for service on a Thursday morning. We use a database that records the visit, the size of the family, thus the amount of food distributed. I’m often asked if we have any income requirements in order to receive food, and no we don’t require proof of income, just current mail that reflects that the clients live in our service area.

How did you hear about TLFB?
I wanted to get involved in something meaningful after retiring from my career as a kindergarten teacher. I thought that I would be a companion to the elderly, like playing bingo or painting women’s nails, but the convalescent hospital never called me back. Shortly after that, I was eating at Karen’s Bakery and ran into a couple friends who were regular TLFB volunteers, who invited me to volunteer with them. It was perfect timing.

What was your first impression of the food bank?
I loved the mission to serve the hungry, and appreciated the impact that the organization had in the community with such a small facility and staff.

What do you look forward to when coming in to volunteer?
I love to greet our clients and check in with them every Thursday morning and look for ways to be a source of encouragement to them. I especially value listening to their stories, and try to find common ground with the clients, especially when we have a shared experience. Thursday is a special day to me.

What is inspiring or challenging while working with the clients?
I think it is inspiring and challenging at the same time when clients open up to share their health, relationship or financial issues. I feel that those are sacred moments, an opportunity to be present in their suffering and offer a comforting prayer, if they are open to it.

Do you have any hobbies?
I was a member of the Sacramento Choral Society for 17 years and sang in my church choir at Capitol Christian Center. I enjoy knitting simple things like scarfs and throw blankets. My family lives nearby, so I’m grateful that I can spend time with my kids and three grandsons.

What was your former career?
After I graduated with a degree in music at in South Dakota, I began working as a vocal music teacher (K-7th) for two years, but I really wanted to get into classroom and teach, so became an elementary teacher. I followed my boyfriend to California in 1960 (we ended up breaking up), where I became a kindergarten teacher and met Bob, the 6th grade teacher (who I ended up marrying). I loved teaching my kids every day, until retiring in 2002.

Maureen (Mo) Johnson

How long have you been volunteering?
2-1/2 years

How did you hear about TLFB?
I was looking online for volunteer opportunities in the area.

What is your volunteer role?
I’ve done a little of everything: warehouse, bagging, Pantry on Wheels. Currently, I volunteer at what we call the Front Counter where I offer our clients a variety of perishable foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products.

What encouraged you to volunteer?
I was looking for something to help distract me from constant feelings of grief after having lost my daughter the year before starting at TLFB, and her death was exactly 15 years to the day that we lost our son to brain cancer. Getting out of the house and doing something for others was very healing and continues to be to this day.

What is inspiring and/or challenging about working with the clients?
I’m inspired when I can bring a smile to one of our client’s faces who might be having a bad day.

How do you see the world differently as a result of your experience here?
I’ve come to learn that we are all really the same, rich or poor, when it comes to the need for love and belonging.

Prior career before volunteering at TLFB?
In my earlier years, I worked as a medical laboratory technician. Currently, my husband and I are self-employed in the music industry. I also spend a lot of time, caring for my grandson, Milo.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I love gardening (just don’t like the sweating!) and enjoy cooking new foods.

What do you wish people knew about TLFB?
The volunteers at TLFB are like a second family — imperfect, warts and all, but most lovely.

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.

Pat Carper

How long have you been volunteering?
16 years

How did you hear about TLFB?
After I retired, I thought I would be a woman of leisure. That lasted about a week. The words of my mother that she shared when I was a child, “Actions speak louder than words” resonated in my head. So, I started researching local organizations that I could volunteer and found Twin Lakes Food Bank.

What is your volunteer role?
When I first came to Twin Lakes, we distributed clothing in addition to food, so I sorted and distributed clothing to our clients. I would also attend local events to promote and educate the community on the mission of the food bank. Currently, I work at our produce stand where I volunteer every Wednesday morning, rain or shine.

What is inspiring and/or challenging about working with the clients?
I simply love to help people right where they are at, hopefully put a smile on their face, knowing that many of them come to the food bank with heavy burdens.

Prior career before volunteering at TLFB?
I was a special education teacher in the San Juan Unified School district for over 20 years.

What are your hobbies/interests?
I am a member of the Folsom Garden Club as well as the California Retired Teacher Association. I also volunteer at the Fair Oaks Library, where I live in Fair Oaks with my husband, Don, of 51 years.

What do you wish people knew about TLFB?
The people who come to the food bank are just like you and me. We all could be or have been in the same boat, where we need a little extra help. Never say never.

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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