“Volunteers are the heart of Care and Share’s work.” We say that all the time, but what does that really mean? Between money saved on personnel and the amount of work accomplished by our volunteer staff, it means more food to more people in more places. We have a small but mighty staff of 40 people working to provide food to 31 Southern Colorado counties–it simply is not possible for our employees alone to provide access to food for the 171,000 people who are unsure of where their next meal is coming from. In fact, last year it took thousands of volunteers in Pueblo and Colorado Springs, giving their time and energy to help us process 19 million pounds of food for our neighbors in need. The cost savings in labor provided by our unpaid workforce was more than $200,000 in our last fiscal year alone, which, throughout the course of our forty-year history, equates to millions of donor dollars we were able to spend on food rather than personnel.
That is a practical way to explain what it means to have volunteers at the heart of our work, but there are faces and stories behind those numbers. There are so many unique individuals and groups helping us in every facet of our work- keeping our gardens alive, making children’s snacks and meals in the community kitchen, working with our Zero Waste program, packing backpacks, processing food, teaching Cooking Matters classes, providing SNAP application assistance, fundraising, offering administration/clerical support, conducting community outreach, serving on our board of directors, and much more! There are just too many to tell you about in this one post. Please look for future stories highlighting those extraordinary people that move our mission forward. In the meantime, we give thanks for the time, effort, and heart our volunteers give every single day.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Volunteer Service and Community Outreach Director