Friday, January 15, 2010
Volunteer Spotlight: Ken Newman
I was talking the other day to Ken Newman, a long-time volunteer of ours. He not only volunteers at our food bank, he’s on our Speaker’s Bureau team and volunteers at special events with his wife. I’m always curious to know how our volunteers get involved and why they stay, and this is what he had to say:
“Northwest Harvest is people helping people. I support Northwest Harvest because of its policy of ‘support for all.’ If you can get to us, you can get help. I have volunteered for another food organization where restrictions were attached to the programs. The organization only supported families with children, elderly and disabled persons. No single adults were eligible, and everyone had to fill out paperwork to establish that they were qualified to receive help. Those who qualified could only come in one time a month. I prefer to devote my energies to Northwest Harvest.”
My next question of Ken – why do you keep coming back, year after year after year?
“While I enjoy being able to help people, the part I enjoy most is the people I get to meet and talk to. Because Northwest Harvest has such a positive image in the community, it draws volunteers from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, companies and life experiences. I have worked alongside a man who was a paratrooper in WWII and later worked on a rubber plantation in the Belgian Congo. Another one played for the Chicago Bears for three years in the NFL. One of our volunteers was attending the college back East that I graduated from nearly 40 years ago, and I got to catch up first-hand on campus activity. I met a man who helped to build the new Yankee Stadium. Another volunteer spent two years in the Philippines in the Peace Corps in the 1960s…on the same island as a young friend from my church who just returned from a two year stint. As a result of activities in the Speakers Bureau at Northwest Harvest, I’ve gotten to meet several television personalities and have been backstage to talk to piano artist George Winston on three occasions. I even got my mug in a couple of Associated Press photos that ended up in newspapers and on MSNBC. I’ve been involved with Northwest Harvest for seven years, and it has been a tremendous experience.”