I have been a board member for over two years now and am continually amazed at what this organization can generate in terms of benefits for the people who need them, and in the role of getting the community excited about helping. Cookie and Mary Arbuckle are pioneers for helping in this local community. My first experience with them, before becoming a board member was when I showed up to volunteer during 'Day without a Gay', an annual event to bring awareness to the fight for marriage equality. I decided to help that day, instead of hanging out at a bar drinking with the other gays. We arrived at Other Options Inc/Friends Food Pantry and were asked to help move and clear out stock items, as well as sort through donations for Christmas baskets. We finished early, and Mary Arbuckle called and found another charity in town that we could go and assist at. It was such a great experience that when I was asked to join the board I immediately knew it was an organization I wanted to be a part of. I'm very proud of what this organization's role is in the community, and to be part of it gives me far more than the help we are able to supply for those in need. This organization generates more than food, medications, clothing, gifts...it generates love and friendships within the community. And no matter how much money we have produced to fund feeding those in need we will always be very rich in life.
I've been involved with Other Options Inc/Friends Food Pantry (OOI/FFP) over the past 4 yrs after retiring after 20 yrs from the USAF/military. With more free time in the evenings and weekends, I have been enlightened working with the many volunteers and board members of this organization and seeing the fruits of our labor in the grateful eyes & smiles of the clients as they shop at the food pantry on Sat/Mon or when we deliver the food on Mondays as well as during the Thanksgiving meal deliveries as well as when they pick up their Christmas toiletry & gift baskets. It's truly a blessing getting to witness the board members and volunteers within the community get together as a team and work the fundraising events just to see us be able to support OOI/FFP serve its mission. Getting to know and work with Cookie Arbuckle, who had the passion, heart and wherewithall to start this great organization in helping the clients, was truly an honor -- I hope to be able to help continue her legacy for many more years.
I started at Other Options as a volunteer one year ago this month. As soon as I began I was immediately impressed with not only the services they provide but how the clients are treated as well. Mary Arbuckle (the director) knows everyone by name and knows their entire back story. I quickly joined the advisory committee and recently joined the board. I really do feel that we have a great group of people working together to try and help as many people in need as we possibly can. I was told when I first started that when you're volunteering, if you're not having fun you shouldn't do it. We manage to have a lot of fun and great interaction w/the clients while getting a lot of important work done.