2024 National Volunteer Week – Part 2

Gleaners South Warehouse

We continue our celebration of National Volunteer Week by shining a spotlight on some of our regular volunteers who are essential to our operations at the Gleaners warehouse in Taylor. Join us in acknowledging their contributions and thanking them for their service!

Tom Rose

Tom is a staple in our Taylor warehouse, sharing 4 days per week with Gleaners as an all-around asset to our operations. He’s been a Gleaners volunteer for more than two years.

“I do a little bit of everything,” he says. “It’s fun. I like fixing staplers and baling boxes, moving the totes. I jump in wherever they need me. Every shift is a little different.”  

Tom is a retired controls engineer, who did electrical design and programming for metal cutting, automation, and robotics. He’s staying busy in retirement with his volunteer service and keeping up with his kids, and two grandkids. His daughter even recently started giving him piano lessons. 

“I always knew that after I retired, I wanted to find somewhere to volunteer,” he says. “I went on the internet and searched ‘volunteer opportunities for retirees’ and first started coming to Gleaners two days per week.” He’s been here ever since. “It’s the people who keep me coming back,” he shares. “You get school kids; you get older folks. You meet a lot of good people here.”

He encourages everyone to volunteer at Gleaners, saying, “Just do it! If you’ve ever even thought about it, if you’ve been kicking it around, just do it! Chances are you’ll enjoy it and come back. It’s all about doing good for the community.”

Thank you, Tom!

Maggie Einhaus

Maggie has been a Gleaners volunteer for five years. She’s had many roles during her tenure, including as a warehouse volunteer, serving on our Speakers Bureau, helping with Senior Food Boxes, assisting at Gleaners’ mobile pantry site in Detroit and sharing food with guests at community mobile distributions at the Oakland County Health Department.

Maggie is a retired human relations consultant, so it’s no surprise that connecting with people ranks among her favorite parts of being a Gleaners volunteer! “I love when I’m in guest-facing situations,” she says. “Anytime I can interact with the people Gleaners is helping, that’s my favorite.” She also enjoys her time at the warehouse. “I like the warehouse, too! I like getting to see different people and talk to them while you work.”

She thinks it’s especially important that retirees consider volunteer service. “You can’t just sit around. If people knew how much fun this is, I think they’d love it! And it is great exercise,” she says. “I sometimes wonder why Gleaners doesn’t advertise volunteering in the warehouse as a workout! I’ve been here two hours today and I’ve gotten in more than 3,000 steps so far.”

She encourages anyone, but especially retirees, to give volunteering at Gleaners a try. “Here’s what I’d tell retirees about volunteering at Gleaners,” she says. “1) it’s so easy to schedule. There’s no commitment, and a lot of flexibility – and it’s so easy to use the website! 2) You meet great people! 3) You’ll have fun!”

The Gleaners’ mission is another reason Maggie feels strongly about spending her time with us. “I love this mission,” she says. “Everybody understands what it is to be hungry. And here, you can do something about it.”

Thank you, Maggie!

Patrick Bowers

A couple of years ago, Patrick came to Gleaners to volunteer during the holiday season. That one-time shift has turned into regular service in the warehouse, where Patrick can be found every Tuesday and Thursday.

“Some people think I work here,” Patrick says. “I’ve learned a lot and made new friends. I just like the atmosphere.” 

Patrick is a JV tennis coach and is working toward becoming a professor of media arts. Coming to Gleaners as a volunteer has been a helpful part of his preparation for both jobs. He says, “I have learned to work with all types of people here – professional groups, students, everyone.”

As a lifelong learner, he credits the variety of work at Gleaners as what keeps him coming back every week. “I like learning new skills,” he says. “I really like to learn, and I learn something new every time I come and volunteer! It’s fun. There’s no pressure. It’s a great workout and everyone here is really friendly. That’s what keeps me coming back!”

Thank you, Patrick!

Ed Chichowlaf

Ed has been coming to the warehouse to volunteer multiple times per month over the last few years. He enjoys his volunteer service at Gleaners because it keeps him active. “You have to stay moving,” he says.

When he’s not at Gleaners, Ed spends his time as a Red Cross volunteer and helps at the soup kitchen at St. Cyprian. “I want to spend my retirement helping people who are less fortunate,” he says.

Thank you, Ed!