Volunteers: we can't fight hunger without them

Woman in a patterned tank top standing by car smiling
April 14, 2021

Every day, volunteers help food banks connect our neighbors facing hunger with healthy food. During National Volunteer Month and all year round, we applaud their dedication and perseverance, undeterred by the COVID pandemic. 

For some volunteers, like Miriam, the pandemic has meant both helping distribute and receiving food. This is her story.

Miriam Alguilar loves to help people, especially by providing food. That’s why she volunteers at the Silver Spring Christian Reformed Church pantry in Maryland, and a partner of the Capital Area Food Bank

Two years ago, “I was driving by and saw the sign. I started [volunteering] once a month, then...I came all the time,” she said.

But the coronavirus pandemic has complicated life for her and her family. 

Miriam had steady work as a bus attendant for students with special needs, providing them with meals and taking care of them as they’re transported to and from school. 

“We don’t work full time now. I’m just working one day,” she said.

And so, while she still volunteers at the food pantry, she’s also come to need its services. Money is tight because of her reduced work hours, but she’s making ends meet thanks to the pantry and her community. 

“That helps a lot. They give us rice, so we can have rice and beans,” she said.

Miriam recognizes that, despite the challenges she’s facing, she’s also fortunate. 

“There are a lot of people who don’t have food. They don’t have jobs,” she said. “They’re not working, and they’re not going to get a check.”

“We don’t know when (the pandemic) is going to end,” she said. But even when it does, Miriam plans to keep volunteering and sharing her resources and time with her neighbors facing hunger.

Interested in lending a helping hand this National Volunteer Month and beyond?

Right now, nearly two-thirds of food banks are in need of and accepting volunteers. Join amazing volunteers like Miriam to help ensure our neighbors have the food they need. Start by finding your local food bank to learn what volunteer opportunities are available. Or, check out some easy ways to volunteer virtually!