My family and a friend and part of her family have helped on Tuesday sorting and preparing literally tons of food that gets donated and then on Wednesday getting it packaged for handing out to the hundreds of people who line up starting in the pre-dawn hours.
The other volunteers welcomed us warmly and made us feel appreciated and all showed us what needed done and helped us plug in quickly. That so many volunteers work together as a team in harmony in what one of the volunteers called organized chaos was inspiring. A lot of smiles and encouragement are visible.
The recipients of the food from the pantry vary from babies and toddlers hanging on to moms skirt to elderly widows and widowers. Husbands and fathers asking for help for their families. Worried mothers grateful for something to feed their children.
It was heartwarming and inspiring to have the distinct pleasure of teaming up together with this great group of volunteers and non-profit organization and myself and my family are blessed to get to be a part of it.
My company, DLD Insurance Brokers, volunteered here on April 15th 2014. We had the most amazing, humbling experience! Michelle is amazing and what her and her husband have undertook for this community is mind blowing. We where so honored to be able to serve with them and pack bags for them to hand out the following day to those in need. Everyone made us feel so welcome and we were able to jump right in and fill in where needed. There was plenty of work to go around, and was a great bonding experience for our office. I have since been approached by people at the office telling me what a superb organization YAS is and how honored they were to be able to help! If your office is looking for a bonding event this is the way to go!!
My company was blessed to be apart of this amazing organization by volunteering for a special event involving YAS. It is hard-work, fulfilling, necessary, inspiring and all for the Glory of God. Thanks YAS!
Since retiring I wanted to find somewhere to do volunteer work. My sister & brother were already going to YAS as volunteers , and kept telling me how much they liked the people there. I've been going now for over a year, and we help sort food on Tuesdays, and distribute it on Wednesdays to many very needy families in Orange. It's awesome how many people are being helped from such a small space. I really enjoy serving at YAS.
YAS is God’s hand extended!
I am volunteering to help YAS sign up families to receive a fresh or frozen turkey along with food items for a complete Thanksgiving dinner. Recently, a friend approached me and asked if YAS could provide food for her co-worker whose husband is dying. This young woman has four children and works long hours to provide for her family since her husband is unable to work. She cries in the shower so her kids won’t see her break down. YAS has been so very awesome! The first time she received the food, she said her kids were so very happy because they had real milk instead of powdered milk! This program provides her with cereal, milk, eggs, chicken and various items that make her life just a little more tolerable under such duress!
Thank you a million times for ministering to those in need!
I have been volunteering at the food pantry for over a year now, I had been in a bad medical accident prior to this and needed to get out in the world again . A friend of mine suggested donating time and energy to a volunteer group and Michelle's site just happened to pop up in a newspaper my sister gave me . I can truly say this experience has helped me get back on my feet and taught me many valuable lessons in life . I'm continually amazed as to how much we do with so little at times .The people I work with and the people I've become friends with in the lines has enriched my life in so many ways ,, I can"t thank them enouigh for taking me onboard and helping me while I help them . forever gratefull ,Hodge L. Moore
I found out about YAS thru a friend and wanted to give back to the community . Not only are the owners Michelle and Eric Hensley great people they are able to pull off the most incredible outpouring of food and giving I don't know how they do it . I have volunteered there for alomost 9 months know and they people they help are truly in need and I've been blessed to meet some of them and become friends . They truly do a wonderful job and I thank them for being there and in my life .Hodge L Moore
You Are Special is a Great Place to serve. My sons and I, look forward to serving every Wednesday morning. It is hard work, but its such a joy to be part of YAS. The people that come all have such a heart breaking story, and their need is great. It is a pleasure to serve them and see some of the peoples gratitude be so genuine.
Hey this program is amazing... I have been volunteering for over three years and have been blessed by it.. It is a great experience with great personal benefits.... Thank you YAS...
With what little time I've been able to donate, I will say that I've seen some of the hardest working people I've met to date. Every week YAS gives back to the community, not just physical needs, such as food and often times clothing, but they give their time and attention to those who have very little. It's inspiring; they are doing a great good for so many people.
My family and I have had the pleasure to volunteer here for the past couple of years, and I have to say that this organization is amazing. My 12 year old son and I look forward to going every Wednesday morning and we are sad when we are not able to make it. It is so amazing to see the leaders of this organization serving side by side with the rest of the volunteers day in and day out as well.The quality of the food is great considering it is rescued food. A Great Organization.
I have known Michelle and Eric Hensley for several years. We met in 2009 when I came to observe their ministry. I was so impressed with what I saw—well managed, cooperative activity leading to the assistance of many, many local families in need. They achieved their goal of helping families with food insecurity but also filled an ever bigger need—making their clients feel they truly were “Special” with a capital “S”. This ministry has grown in an orderly and planned manner, serving more and more clients without any of the chaos that normally accompanies a nonprofit’s expansion. They’ve done it with plain hard work and willing, wonderful volunteers.
In 2012 I was invited to join the Board of Directors. I did so joyfully and with honor, to be trusted to help guide this wonderful organization. I am especially impressed with You Are Special not because I’m a casual observer but rather because I am the Executive Director of another local nonprofit and I know how difficult it is to run an organization in these trying economic times when more and more people need help. Michelle and Eric run You are Special with grace, wisdom and a tremendous amount of compassion for the people they serve. I am proud and grateful to be associated with them. I believe in them with my whole heart.
Review from Guidestar
I'm an Executive Director of another local nonprofit and I've known Michelle and Eric Hensley for several years. I've observed their ministry firsthand and I've seen it grow because of the Lord's blessings on their pure motivation. You are Special does a beautiful job of feeding hundreds of families every week. The orchestration of an event of this type week after week is no small feat, but they do it with efficiency, excellent organization and a lot of hard, physical work. The local community is blessed to have Michelle and Eric heading this ministry because the families leave every week knowing that they truly are "special", each and everyone because of the loving way they are treated. I'm also a board member and I am very impressed at the attention given to the "behind the scenes" running of the organization. Michelle does an awesome job of paying attention to the details so necessary to running a successful nonprofit. I'm very proud to know everyone associated with You Are Special.
My husband and I have been involved with You Are Special for many years now. As teens we would help by volunteering with the Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway Food Drive; we now help run the program. Over the years we have seen this organization grow year after year; going from a back pack distribution program to a full blown food bank nonprofit. The problems with the food industry today is breathtaking, and the need that people have for food is even more amazing; but somehow we have always been able to manage feeding hundreds of families every week. YAS is not just your average food bank. We are completely volunteer run and our sole purpose is to give those that are in need. No matter how many are in their family or where they live, no matter their income level or what type of job they have; YAS's doors are open to all members of society that are in need. Our biggest time of year is Thanksgiving; but we also have programs for Back to School and Christmas. This year our Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway distributed over 700 turkey dinners to families in our community. Our thought has always been, "If we were not here, would our community miss us?" I think it is safe to say that we are a staple here in Orange County and would be very much missed by those that are given food.
You Are Special is local food bank that gives food to hundreds of families every week. Just ask any of the other shops open near their facility and they can tell you that it is amazing to see how many people come out and are provided for week in and week out! They are a true staple to their community. The spirit and heart of the organization and every volunteer shows every time they are gathered together to serve. I love this organization because they truly care about giving, period. No matter how many are in a family, where they live, how much they need or even what they need; You Are Special is there to help, serve, and give to the community and those in need.
Mercy Housing Non-Profit is a recepiant of food every week from You Are Special. They help provide food pantry for over 28 low income seniors at Linbrook Court households every week & 15 Low income families at The Vineyard Town Home Apt. Not only are the donations helpful but they helpers/volunteers are EXTREMELY courteous, dedicated, and giving of their time in relating to the needs of these residents. Mercy Housing-Linbrook Court & The Vineyard Town House are so very proud and Thankful to be part of this giving organization! THANK YOU, Michelle & Staff for ALL YOu DO!
My kids and I volunteer at You Are Special Community Outreach and we get to see first hand the people who have been impacted by this recession. We love to serve the part of our community who are struggling but have not lost hope.
You are Special is a local food bank, that helps feed hundreds of people monthly. It is a great place for my family and I to serve others with a heart full of gratitude.