Helping to solve hunger drives volunteer to help at Gleaners Pontiac center

Volunteers play a vital role in Gleaners’ mission to distribute food to the tens of thousands of hungry kids and families across southeastern Michigan. Gleaners’ distribution centers depend on the willingness, energy and muscle of volunteers that pack and sort food for our region’s hungriest.

Keith Duby, who loves to play the guitar, first started coming to the Gleaners Pontiac location about three years ago with his church group. After an unforgettable experience, Keith was motivated to do more and he organized a return trip to Pontiac, this time with a group of co-workers.

“The more I got my feet wet, the more engaged I wanted to be,” said Keith, noting that the groups visit was part of the automakers “GM Cares Week” program.

After officially testing the waters, Keith plunged headfirst into his efforts to do more. What started as an occasional volunteer experience turned into a monthly jaunt to help sort and pack food and then a weekly commitment as a volunteer lead. Seeing the continuing demand to help those in need only spurred Keith’s desire to help Gleaners and assist in any way he can.

“I have time available on weekends and I like to get out and help folks and be active,” Keith said. “By helping the new volunteers feel welcomed, it’s possible they’ll come back and help again,” he added.

Extra helping hands are always welcomed at Gleaners Pontiac Distribution Center. The center’s volunteer coordinator, Margarita Ovalle, said she and the volunteers sort and pack at least 25,000 pounds of food from Kroger and Food Link per week. Once the load is packed, the boxes are placed in inventory so Gleaners partners can order and meet the constant demand to feed hungry kids and their families, even with an improved economy.

“The impact our volunteers make is huge,” said Ovalle. “Having more volunteers means having more boxes packed to help the hungry,” she added.

If you’d like to join Keith and be part of Margarita’s volunteer team in Pontiac or at any of the other Gleaners distribution centers in southeastern Michigan, we’d love to have you. Click here to find out more about our Volunteer Opportunities.

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