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Joy Comes from helping others: Mary & Jerry Burge

Volunteers SpotlightMary and Jerry Burge come every Wednesday to pack food boxes.  After 42 years in the workforce, Mary was surprised by the number of people who needed food.
"My heart goes out to them," she says.  "There are so many young people that are hurting.  When they don't have enough money to buy what they need."
They also see a lot of seniors who come to the pantry, many of them raising their grandchildren.
"It's hard to see this hurt," says Mary.

Being able to help meet hurting people's needs is fulfilling for both Mary and her husband.
"It brings me joy!" she says..  "Jerry and I are blessed to know we can have a part in helping someone have food."
Mary says more families come through the food pantry during the summer months when kids are home from school.

Mary encourages others to volunteer, not only because more people can be helped, but because it's fun!

"We love the people we work with," she says.  "We're just like a family."

To those who support the East Texas Food Bank, Mary says, "I would thank them from the people we help.  Whatever you give - whether it's money or food - is appreciated."

"Dream Team" Volunteers

Dream TeamThey call themselves the “Dream Team”.  A dedicated group of volunteers that have been volunteering their time weekly at the East Texas Food Bank for nearly four years.

The group, consisting of nine members, are known for their skills in our repacking room.  On this day, only five members were able to volunteer.

“We love it here,” says Jessie, who has been volunteering for about three years.  “I retired and wanted something to do.  This is a great place to do it.”

Margaret, whose husband passed away a few years ago, says coming each week to the East Texas is something she looks forward to.  

“It helps me get out of the house,” Margaret said.

Rose understands how Margaret feels.  She too lost her husband a few years ago and was inspired by Margaret to come to the East Texas Food Bank to volunteer. 

“I needed something to do and Margaret begged me to come,” Rose said.  “I love it here…it’s so rewarding.  I can’t contribute financially, so this is my way to do it.”

A new member of the group, Rick, started volunteering only a few weeks ago.  The “Dream Team” adopted him quickly.

“I just moved from Austin and volunteered a lot with Capital Area Food Bank,” Rick said.  “I believe in giving back and it’s really the reward of helping others that I enjoy.”

Sally volunteers with PATH, one of our partner agencies in Tyler, as well as the East Texas Food Bank.

“I love to help people and be around them,” Sally said.  “There is so much people can do here.  This food bank runs off volunteers.”

All the “Dream Team” members say that volunteering is something they encourage everyone to do.

Michael Janick
Mike JanickMichael Janick volunteers at the East Texas Food Bank twice a month, as a member of both Catholic Charities and the Knights of Columbus.

"I don't know if the whole community understands, that there are a lot of hungry people out there," he said.

 Janick was the one that suggested volunteering to his Knights of Columbus group, and says he enjoys his time at the food bank.

"It gets us out and quite often after we're done, we'll go as a group and have lunch," he said.

For Janick, it's about sharing his blessings.

"It doesn't seem fair we can eat well and other people are having a hard time and so this is one way we can come and help put food on somebody's table," he said.

  Feeding Texas BBB Accredited Charity