Once a month pantry volunteers sat outside the entrance at the Sunflower Natural Foods Market asking for food. One volunteer, Ann King, never came to the pantry to work but she was one of our most valuable volunteers.
Ann organized and managed our monthly food drive at the Sunflower Natural Foods Market.
Ann arranged the monthly date with Bob Whitcomb.
Ann scheduled the volunteers to come and sit at the table.
Ann had me arrive first on the day of the food drive with the table, chairs, sign, donation jar, and tent. I set everything up outside the front door and stayed until other volunteers came to sit at the table.
Ann taught us to make eye contact with every person coming to the store.
Ann taught us to smile and tell them about the pantry and tell them what we needed.
Ann taught us to introduce ourselves to strangers, exchange names and memorize them for the next time the person came to the table.
The event was extremely important to our pantry because we got enough boxed almond (or soy, hemp) milk for the people shopping at the pantry to get a box when they visited the pantry. Milk was a serious challenge for us because of our limited refrigeration situation.
When we needed it, we focused the food drive on cereal and received many bags of Arrowhead Mills puffed cereal. In this way, Sunflower Natural Foods Market became an extension of the pantry.
The food drives were always held on Saturday. After the food drive ended, Barry went to the Sunflower with funds collected and purchased the food. We picked it up on Tuesday morning when we could get it into the building.
We estimated once that Ann King’s efforts brought up $5000 worth of quality food every year. Thank you to every person who visited our table and dropped money in our donation jar. You helped a lot of people.
After several months of Sunflower fundraisers, Bob Otto joined in the effort. He stood in the doorway of the Sunflower with a large milk pitcher and spoke to everyone coming in the door. Bob was a one-person money generating machine. He was polite, personal, professional. No one could turn him down. As the customers came to the door of the Sunflower, they opened their wallets.
Soon, Bob Otto was expanding his efforts to include a raffle sale one summer. He spent every Saturday one whole summer in the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market entrance selling raffle tickets. I sat at a small table beside him and helped the people sign the raffle tickets. It was an amazing sight to watch.
We had food in the pantry in no small part due to the efforts of Ann and Bob.
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