Volunteers find love at their local food pantry

Kim and Dave outside at a volunteer event
April 6, 2022
by Alyssa Schukar

When people volunteer at their local food bank, they’re probably hoping to find some satisfaction from helping their neighbors.

For Kim and Dave, they found something unexpected: love.

The two met while volunteering at a Second Harvest Heartland mobile pantry in Egan, Minnesota.

Every Tuesday for a year, Kim Aleshire Johnston and Dave Ring organized produce, distributed gallons of milk, and returned shopping carts. As they got to know each other, they realized how much they had in common.

“He was such a kindred spirit from the get-go,” Kim said. “We both like to have fun and to move around and do things.” 

After retiring from his work at a vehicle leasing company during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave missed interacting with co-workers. 

Volunteering meant he could “give back to others in need,” he said. “We’re very fortunate in our country to have as much as we do.”

After 35 years of travel as a flight attendant, Kim wanted to connect with her suburban Minneapolis community. “It’s right up my alley – greeting people and having fun,” she said.

Dave noticed right away how welcoming Kim is to all who visit the distribution. 

“She’s very kind to the families, and she’s good with the kids,” he said. “She tries to make sure they feel special.”

Kim understands that “everybody needs help sometimes. Everybody has needs. Even if it isn’t food, you just need support.”

“Our clients come and they get what they need to sustain them hopefully for a week. They leave and are so happy, but I think we get more out of it” as volunteers, Kim said.

“You feel like you have helped touch somebody’s life,” she said, and her time as a volunteer created “a real peace in my heart.”

We can't guarantee you'll find love volunteering at a food pantry or food bank, but you'll definitely be helping your community! Check out ways to get involved by finding your local food bank and contacting them for available opportunities.