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Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started coming with my teen-agers for service credit. It was such a great experience, that I now attend without them. But it is a very popular place to volunteer, so plan ahead in case there are too many staffed volunteers that same day! It is a lovely, dignified exchange between volunteers and clients.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to Oak Park this apst summer and was thrilled to get involved in the community by volunteering at the Food Pantry. The other volunteers are so much fun to work with, and it is a joy to serve our clients.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am proud to be a volunteer with and donor to the OPRF Food Pantry becuase it addresses a basic need for many area families in an efficient and respectful manner.

The OPRF Food Pantry leverages its resources extremely well in the following ways:

- Clients can select their food just as in a supermarket, receiving meat, dairy, fresh and canned vegetables and fruit, pasta, PB&J, snack foods and toiletries.
- Information about other forms of assistance is provided to clients, as well as dietary and menu planning help
- Pantry offerings are efficiently procured by leveraging funds for food purchases from the USDA and Greater Chicago Food Depository, 'rescuing' day-old (but still perfectly fine!) produce and baked goods from area grocery stores and taking in food donations
- The Pantry is effectively overseen by a volunteer Board and small paid staff, who coordinate all the operations and recruit/organize a large stable of volunteers

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

me a satisfying sense of doing something specific to assist. I plan to volunteer as long as I am able.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a very organized group and personally very rewarding to volunteer for. The new shoppers choice system is so excellent as the food recipients are treated as if in a grocery store with a choice of items . This system is more dignified for the recipients. Also with this shoppers choice system I think there is less wasted food as in the past many people received food they couldn't use (due to allergies or diabetes, etc.). Sometimes now a person will just bypass the fruit (for example) if they cannot take the sugar. As a vlounteer you are slotted in a spot when you arrive and become productive right away. There is sufficient training for new volunteers also.

I also enjoy the seasonal give-aways of turkeys or hams with the lottery. My only complaint is that some recipients didn't know they had received the ham/turkey (via lottery). I am not sure if it is the food pantry's fault but a number of people came who did NOT receive the ham/turkey and also many whose names were drawn did NOT show up. Volunteers were on the phone calling those who had not shown up at the last minute. I am not sure how to improve the lottery process.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Nice people in need. Nice people who volunteer. Sorry, I think that says it all.

Review from Guidestar

Julie H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I love volunteering at the OPRF Food Pantry. Everyone is so friendly, warm, caring and fun to be around! We enjoy meeting the clients and sharing a smile. This pantry is so well-organized, so well-run, it's just unbelievable. I have also referred some people to use the pantry as clients and they come back to me with glowing reports. This is a real gem of our community. Keep up the good work!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for the pantry for nearly two years and have been surprised by the constant growth in the need for services and impressed by the pantry's ability to not only keep up to meet demand, but improve their services at the same time. The organization and layout of the space has improved, client choice (shopping) added and the food choices expanded to include healthful whole grains, fresh produce and dairy. From a business perspective it is great how involved the pantry is in the community--the directors write the local papers, look for grants and push for creative food and fund drives. Their dedication assures the health and growth of this great source of help for those in need.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful volunteer experience because:

you always meet other interesting people;
there is plenty of meaningful work to be done;
the atmosphere is organized and well run;
your time is well used and appreciated;
the leadership is superior;
your efforts are needed and valued; and
there is a wonderful variety of work to be done!

I highly recommend this "work"!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I moved to Oak Park about five years ago and was looking for a volunteer opportunity. I found the Food pantry. Five years ago we served perhaps 50 families on a busy Wednesday and maybe 75 on a busy Saturday. This past November we served 320 families on the Saturday before Thanksgiving! We are open each Wednesday and Saturday and each shift I see some familiar faces but also new faces filled with hunger, as well as shame and fear at having to visit a food pantry in order to feed themselves and their families. The extraordinary directors and staff welcome everyone and make sure that everyone is treated with dignity and respect. We all know we are but one disaster away from standing in line ourselves. We offer not only food but respect and a kind word or a joke. We offer hot cocoa on cold days and books to take home all the time. We do our best to fill specific needs. We offer fresh produce and bakery bread. We have an on site nutritionist. We carry the groceries to the cars. We have great volunteers and generous donors. The Client Choice model which allows clients to push a shopping cart and make their own selection so far surpasses the former model of just presenting clients with bags of groceries. Our touch is kind and personal. We have signage in Spanish and as often as possible translators on site. The phenomenal Walk In Ministry shares our space and works so hard to make our clients' lives easier.

Review from Guidestar