“Giving Time” focuses on the invaluable volunteers who donate more than 314,000 hours to Second Harvest each year, more than doubling the size of our staff.

Special Blog Post featuring Pat Putnam, Development Operations Volunteer, as told to Matt Mastrangelo of Second Harvest Food Bank.

I’ve been volunteering at Second Harvest for about 12 years.

I’ve always believed in what was going on with Second Harvest and its mission to feed people in need. If you’re a donor, one of the easiest ways to find out if your money is doing any good is to volunteer for that organization and see how it works. I’ve always been donor. One day I just called them up. They asked is this just for the holiday season and I said no, something more permanent. I started out one day a week. Now I’m here three days a week about five hours a day.

I don’t deal with the food. I’m weak. (laughs) I can’t lift. So, I verify matching gifts, cleanup the database, including name changes, address changes, returned mail and more. I make sure we don’t send out duplicate mailings so that we’re not using valuable resources that can go toward helping people in need. This is important to the Food Bank’s bottom line. I make sure Michael Jones and Mike Jones are the same person and add a note to the database.

It’s also valuable to have a volunteer do this work, because it can be time consuming. Having me do this work also impacts the bottom line. I can do the research to solve a problem, and I’m cheap, too. I work for coffee! (laughs)

I believe in the cause, I like the way Second Harvest uses their volunteers. They find people’s talents, and then they move that person into an area where it can be mutually beneficial for both the volunteer and Second Harvest. And volunteering is a two-way street. My daughter will tell anyone that the Food Bank does more for me than I do for it.

***If you’d like to volunteer at Second Harvest, visit SHFB.org/volunteer.