This month’s Volunteer of the month comes from our partner agency, Feeding the Gulf Coast-formerly Bay Area Food Bank. Missy Busby, Volunteer and Food Drive Manager, nominated this month’s honoree because of the tremendous help she has been to Feeding the Gulf Coast in their efforts to feed the hungry in our community. Congratulations to Marilee Maddin, United Way of Southwest Alabama’s February Volunteer of the Month!
We are happy to be recognizing Marilee for her tireless service. Missy bragged to us about all of Marilee’s work, which includes thousands of pounds of food she helped sort for the agency in just a few short months. Here’s what Missy had to say:
“Marilee has been a tremendous help to Feeding the Gulf Coast and to me as well. She always arrives with a smile and a positive attitude. She will do whatever is asked of her and do it with a smile. Marilee is reliable, dependable and one of the most selfless people I know. She volunteers 3-4 days a week and on Saturdays to help in reclamation. Marilee has helped to sort and box over 53,000 pounds of food since July 1, 2015. This will provide nearly 41,000 meals to individuals and families in need. She takes the lead with the volunteers in reclamation to instruct them on proper procedures. She helps with paperwork and data entry projects on a daily basis. Every day she leaves she says, “I’m leaving now. Have a good day and I will see you bright and early!”
We caught up with Marilee to ask her a few questions about herself and her work with Feeding the Gulf Coast.
UWSWA: Tell us a little about yourself
Marilee: I have been retired for a few years. Prior to retirement I worked in the Space Shuttle Program for 26 years. I had a very exciting and demanding job. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of history. I still miss the anticipation and excitement of the Shuttle launches and landings. Now I live with my two one-year old German Shepherds, Ranger and Loki.
UWSWA: What made you want to begin volunteering?
Marilee: I felt like I needed more ‘productive time’ in my life. I could only read and crochet so much! My dogs needed a break from me! My 89 year old aunt suggested volunteering. I googled volunteer opportunities in Mobile and Bay Area Food Bank popped up! I called and went down the next day. When I first started volunteering there it was because I was bored. The longer I am there, I see the good work that they do and I am so glad to be a part of it. It really opens your eyes to the needs of people in the community.
UWSWA: What types of work have you been doing?
Marilee: My main task is sorting donated food. I check products for expiration dates and make sure the packaging is acceptable. I then sort the product into the proper food category for distribution. I also help in the office with clerical work.
UWSWA: What do you enjoy about volunteering?
Marilee: This is my first volunteer job and I wasn’t sure what to expect. After realizing how many individuals/families need help, it is a good, but humbling feeling to know that you have helped in some way. I never realized there were so many hungry kids. The Backpack Program was a real eye-opener for that. I always feel like I have accomplished something when I leave the food bank and I look forward to coming back the next day.
UWSWA: Is there a moment that stands out in your mind about your volunteer experience as interesting or noteworthy?
Marilee: There are really two things. First, as I mentioned earlier, is the Backpack Program. Realizing that the bags of food are feeding kids on the weekends is an eye-opener. Also, when I get to work in the mornings, sometimes folks are lined up in trucks, vans or cars. I realized they were there to get food for pantries and soup kitchens. When you stop and think that folks would not be eating without this service, it makes you happy that you have participated in this program.
UWSWA: Why would you recommend volunteering to others?
Marilee: Volunteering is great! You can choose your passion and volunteer to help that cause! There are opportunities everywhere. Whether it is an hour a week or every day, it’s all good! You will see people and everyday life in a completely different view.
Thank you, Marilee for all you do in our community!