Volunteers Keep Food Bank Ready To Help

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The Rim Country Food Bank's grand opening ceremony Saturday to celebrate its new building and everything that came along with it, could not have been accomplished without volunteers.

Of the 60 volunteers at the food bank, about 90 percent are senior citizens who help out people in need.

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Four senior volunteers at the Rim Country Food Bank fill boxes for people in need. The four are, from left, Barbara Behl, Sue Hubenthal, Joe Gasiel and Phyllis Hall.

In the month of August, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul assisted 357 families with 17,850 pounds of food and $5,960 for utilities.

The senior volunteers at the food bank said since they are retired, they have the time to help others.

Volunteer Sue Hubenthal pointed to one day where the volunteers handed out 51 food boxes that ended up feeding 143 people.

"We volunteer to give back to the community," added volunteer Barbara Behl.

"We were fortunate in our lives to have a lot, so we volunteer to give back."

Phyllis Hall, who has volunteered at the food bank for five years, said there are many people in the community who need assistance.

"I think we are all givers," she said.

Sue Hubenthal, a volunteer for the last two years, said there is no question the food bank is driven by its volunteers.

The volunteers, most of whom are senior citizens, donate about 70 hours a week, six days a week, sorting and stacking food items.

"The majority are seniors, but we do have some high school students coming in to fill the food boxes," she said. "It's a community thing."

Joe Gasiel, who has been volunteering his services with St. Vincent de Paul Society for eight years, said the volunteers provide much more than just food and other perishables.

"We are kind of unique here," he said, adding that they also provide utilities to homes in need as well as other necessities.

Gasiel said there are between 60 to 80 volunteers who help out the St. Vincent de Paul Society in some way.

He said teams of 10 volunteers work a week to help out residents in need outside the food bank. The teams rotate every week and, he added, there are about 10 teams.

Hall said the volunteer shifts at the food bank could be as low as two hours a day on the three days the food bank is open.

"If you have to fill food boxes, it's two hours," Hall said.

Hubenthal said not just anyone will be allowed to volunteer his or her time and/or or services to the food bank. People wanting to volunteer with the St. Vincent de Paul Society must undergo a background check.

Hall said the reasoning behind the number of volunteers at the food bank is that they are retired, and therefore can devote their time to noteworthy causes.

"We are blessed with the community that does a lot of work for us," she said, mentioning all of the items that are donated from other churches.

"Anytime we ask anyone in town to help, it is always a ‘yes,'" she said.

Saturday's ceremony was a way for the food bank to thank the people who supported and donated funds for the building as well as the necessary items to make it operational.

Anyone wanting to volunteer at the food bank can call (928) 474-9104.

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