About 6 years ago I decided I wanted to become involved volunteering somewhere on my day off. I saw a post in our local paper the West Chester Food Cupboard was looking for volunteers. I signed up and I am so glad I did!
I was first impressed with the fact that NO ONE gets paid. Every penny is used for food, personal care necessities and overhead costs. Many of us on Wednesdays have been together for years and I consider them my friends. I look forward to working with them and getting to know our clients. While I now spend most of my time stocking, accepting orders and donations and organizing the warehouse; I continue to to enjoy interacting with our clients. I have gotten to know many and it is humbling to hear their stories and to know that we can ease their burdens by proving a cart full of groceries. We do not just hand them bags of food but they are able to enjoy shopping and selecting the food their families like. Most get very excited when they see all the fresh produce that gets donated during the growing season. They are so receptive to recipe suggestions and go home excited to cook their new produce and try out on their families.
We are so grateful for our local farmers, schools, churches, and neighborhood gardens that grow and donate their produce!
Whether our clients need us short term or longer, our county is so fortunate the West Chester Food Cupboard is able to provide this service. I highly recommend becoming involved.
I have been a volunteer at WCFC since 2014, with primary responsibilities for escorting clients on Saturday mornings. I feel very fortunate to be a part of an organization whose mission is so vitally important to so many food-insecure households in our community. Clients come to us for help as a result of a wide variety of circumstances that make it difficult for them to provide adequate and nutritious food for their families. At the Cupboard, they can choose from a wonderful selection of fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy items, frozen fish and meat, canned and non-perishable foods, and more. Because clients can choose what they need and will use, instead of receiving a one-size-fits-all package, the Cupboard is a very efficient mechanism for providing food assistance that really makes an impact in the clients’ lives.
As a result, it is clear how much the clients appreciate the facility, the donors, and the all-volunteer staff that keeps this complicated operation running smoothly every day. Frequently during our enjoyable chats as we work our way through the various sections of the Cupboard, clients mention to me how this service is the lynchpin that gets them through their month, and that they have no idea how they would get by without it. It is both amazing and gratifying to me that 160 part time volunteers can make this much impact for about 560 households (representing 2,500 people!) in our community. I am most grateful to our generous donors and the other volunteers for sharing the concern that 560 food-insecure families in our community is 560 too many.
I first found about West Chester Food Cupboard when looking for someone who might appreciate receiving the excess produce from our backyard garden. After stopping in a few times to donate, I was very impressed with the organization and soon thereafter decided to start volunteering on Saturday mornings. That was 2 years ago, and I still very much look forward to getting to WCFC each Saturday to help clients select a wide variety of healthy food, and thereby assist in reducing food insecurity for some of our most vulnerable neighbors. I highly recommend volunteering for anyone who would like to help make a real difference in our community!
When I was looking for a place to volunteer some of my time in the community, I knew the food cupboard was where I wanted it to be because my wife was already volunteering there, and I got to hear firsthand of their great work. I have now been volunteering at the food cupboard for 3 years. What started out as donation pickup at a small specialty store has grown into me volunteering 3-4 days a week at the cupboard, covering a variety of duties. It has evolved into such a rewarding experience, inspiring me to offer as much time as I can, to an organization that provides such an important need in my community. And it has been amazing to see the community respond to this need, providing donation support that has allowed the cupboard to increase the quantity and quality of the food they provide. It's especially terrific to see the cupboard provide such great produce, dairy, and meats.
It is a privilege to be a part of such a well-run organization with an all-volunteer staff, especially when there are so many moving parts and coordination that has to happen on a day-to-day basis to get the food cupboard well-stocked and ready to serve clients.
I have been volunteering at the WCFC since 2012 and have found it to be a wonderful and rewarding experience. When I began volunteering I had no idea that the needs of many people in our community were so great. I have been extremely impressed by the generosity of our donors as well as our volunteers, many of whom give multiple hours a week of their time to meet the needs of running the largest food cupboard in our county. We are an all-volunteer organization so that every penny donated is used for either our overhead or for the purchase of food. Although I spend many of my hours purchasing a vast variety of healthy foods which we make available to our clients, I most enjoy meeting our clients, hearing their stories and seeing what a difference the cupboard makes in easing their struggles with food insecurity. I love that we are a client choice cupboard, so that our clients are empowered to select the items they want for themselves and their families. Many are working mothers and fathers who simply have trouble making ends meet with the high cost of living in our county. The atmosphere of the WCFC is welcoming to all, clients and volunteers alike, and the volunteers are committed to working together to accomplish our mission which states that no one should go hungry.
No one should be hungry anywhere. This is what prompted me to volunteer at the West Chester Food Cupboard. I had no idea how many families needed help with food. Seniors, military vets, handicapped, single moms and single dads are our clients. We don’t just hand our clients bags of food. We escort them through the store and allow them to make selections of what foods their family will eat. Much less waste this way. So many express their gratitude every time they come. I thoroughly encourage everyone to come visit and see how we make a difference in people’s lives and how they can be part of that experience!
As a volunteer who works one afternoon a week, I find the most rewarding part of my time at the Cupboard is the conversations I have with clients as they shop and make their food selections. Hearing about their day, their work, their kids, their health issues or their food preferences as we progress through the many sections of the Cupboard, causes me to appreciate the variety of life situations that can lead to food scarcity. It is a humbling experience to hear these stories and realize that in this community where so many people have so much, there are neighbors who struggle on a daily basis.
Every client expresses deep gratitude for the high quality food and the wide selection of products made available to them in a clean, bright and friendly environment. Many say they couldn't get through the month without the food they get from the Cupboard. Everyone is treated with respect and dignity from the moment they walk in the door and register, to the time they wheel their full grocery cart outside to load their car.
I am proud to be a part of this amazing volunteer team that consistently provides such a vital service to people in our community. It's especially gratifying to see how well-run the WCFC is with no paid employees and such effective use of financial and food donations. We're all committed to doing our part in ending food scarcity in West Chester.
I am a volunteer and a monthly supporter. This is a great place to make a difference in the life of families in our community. When you see a mom get excited to see fresh strawberries, or frozen broccoli, you realize how fortunate you are. When we receive donations from the community, they get put to use almost immediately. This is a great, clean facility run by ALL volunteers, and families can even take home a children’s book from the waiting area.
I have been volunteering for the cupboard for six years now and have witnessed the progress we have made in serving our community. The availability of frozen and fresh vegetables gives an alternative to canned goods. This helps those who are watching their salt intake. Having personal products also helps our clients keep up with their daily needs. With summer here, the return of our children’s food bags have started. Having worked in pediatrics for many years, it is heartwarming to know those child who rely on school for meals will not go hungry during the summer months.
I began volunteering at the West Chester Food Cupboard thinking I wanted to give back to our community. What I didn't realize at the time was just how much more our community would give in return.
I have the amazing opportunity to connect and learn from people from all walks of life, as food insecurity knows no boundaries. We have an immense respect for our clients and take great pride in creating a comfortable, fun environment to visit. There is no better feeling than watching our clients leave with a trunk full of groceries, their dignity, a big smile and one less problem to worry about.
The experience has been life changing for me. It has opened my eyes to the fact that any of us, at any time could become food insecure.
Originally, I planned to volunteer one day a month, which almost immediately changed to weekly and last year, I became a board member. I am inspired by the positive, can do attitude of our volunteers, who strive to create an environment where people feel welcome.
The outpouring of support for those in need fills me with hope and gratitude. I am humbled, honored and proud to be a part of such an amazing community and organization, who care about the wellbeing of others and ensuring that Nobody Goes Hungry!
I have been a volunteer for 7 years and a member of the Board for 5 years and most recently became President of the Board in May 2017. What drew me the the West Chester Food Cupboard is the fact that it is an all volunteer organization with no paid staff and supports those in need directly in my community. I am so proud to be part of this organization and the support it provides to the community. We serve approximately 560 households a month and provide them with a wide variety of food and personal care items free of charge. For our fiscal year end June 30, 2018 we are expected to surpass providing one million pounds of food. We could not provide this service with out the support of the community and appreciative the support we receive. Approximately 50% of the food we provide is from donated food and 50% is purchased with cash donations.
I became a volunteer at the Cupboard after working as a volunteer in a garden that grows food for the Cupboard. I am amazed at how many fresh fruits and vegetables the Cupboard provides clients. All year round the Cupboard supplies basic vegetables and fruits, but come the summer we receive wonderful donations of fresh produce from many gardens. Schools, churches, companies, and individuals are raising food for our clients. It is a delight to welcome gardeners when they bring their bounty to the Cupboard. I am sure to proudly tell clients which produce came from a local garden. These donations allow us to offer variety and new tastes to our clients. Even as a gardener I am surprised by yellow eggplant and red okra. The Cupboard is an important resource in the West Chester community!
My husband and I feel strongly that no one should go hungry in this country of ours. We started supporting the cupboard by loading the back of our suv with cases of goods that we purchased at a big box store. It made us feel as though we were helping a little. We did this for several years and then realized that the cupboard could purchase more of what their clients wanted and needed. We started to donate financially. Last November we had an opportunity to meet the Board and other donors and volunteers and learn more. I started volunteering the next week. I have been associated with several non profits but I can honestly say that I am totally impressed with the all volunteer organization. All money collected goes to supporting our clients. Not a penny is spent on salaries. Our clients are a diverse group of people, some with children, some struggling to keep their heads above water and some are elderly individuals trying to survive on small social security allotments. As volunteers, we get much more than we give. I am humbled to be a member of this organization which is trying to make a difference one meal and one client at a time.
Great friendly people! Everyone is always so helpful and they always try to conversate and interact with everyone.
Why do we donate money to the WCFC? Because it is one of the best run nonprofit food providers to the needy in Chester County! The staff is knowledgeable, engaging, and show a deep empathy and compassion for their clients. Hunger is often invisible - the WCFC serves as a great beacon of help to those who otherwise would continue to suffer from lack of nourishment. Great job WCFC!
Geoff Scott, Ph.D.
The West Chester Food Cupboard supports those who suffer from food insecurity in the West Chester School District. It is a very welcoming place for the clients and volunteers alike. The setup at the cupboard is very similar to what one would experience in a food store - aisles of food to walk through and make your own selections. This non-profit is filling a very important need as statistics show that almost 24% of the West Chester population lives below the poverty level. I am very proud to support such a well run organization.
I have been supporting the West Chester Food Cupboard for a couple of years now, and I am extremely impressed with their dedication and their desire to help their clients. Some of their workers are there most days of the week, and/or work very long days there, but NONE of them are paid. And they are very conscientious about their clients' feelings and their needs. They try hard to make the experience comfortable for them, making it feel like they are doing their grocery shopping but without having to pay for the food. They do a wonderful job filling an important need in our community.
I am a donor who has just started volunteering at the Food Cupboard because I've been SO impressed with them. It is an all-volunteer operation, and believe me it is no easy job. But everyone jumps in and works very hard, and they help hundreds of families in the area. I really like that they are so conscientious about their clients, making sure that they get a good variety of fresh foods and allowing them to "shop" and choose what their families need and want, rather than just handing them a bag of food. They are excellent stewards of all their donations.
People assume hunger only affects those who are homeless, but it's not always that way. It affects hard working families that struggling to feed their family nutritious food. Food insecurity is harmful to all people, but particularly devasting to children. Proper nutrition is critical to a child's development. "It's an issue, that if we come together as a community, we can solve. When volunteering at the West Chester Food Cupboard you become part of the community in solving this issue, as you reach out with kindness and compassion.
West Chester Food Cupboard makes such a positive difference in people's lives. The clients are so appreciative. It's wonderful to be able to provide food and other household items to folks that really need it.
And the volunteers are amazing! Everyone works so hard-- the lead volunteers, the office staff, the drivers, the donors, the shelf-stockers, the client helpers, and many others. I'm so proud to be able to volunteer at this organization.
It's a win-win! A great community effort!
From Connie Gentile: I have been volunteering at this food cupboard for 15 years - previously it was Cares and in 2009 it became the West Chester Food Cupboard. I really enjoy my volunteering experience and look forward to every Tuesday when I come in to work with a great group of volunteers. I frequently greet individuals and groups that are bringing donations to the cupboard and I am also amazed at the amount of people thanking me when they bring in their donations! We could not do what we do without the support that we receive from the community. It is a group effort.