Volunteer Spotlight

Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:

Linda Von Schoech - March 2014

Linda 014After going on a tour with her grandson's Boy Scout troupe, Linda Von Schoech knew she wanted to become a volunteer with Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). A few months ago at volunteer orientation, Linda learned about our Demonstration Garden and knew right away would be her place to serve.

Linda, a 57-year-old Department of Food and Agriculture retiree, has always believed in fighting hunger and helping seniors. "I have a brother-in-law who grew up hungry, who went to bed hungry so many times that, to this day, he always eats something before going to bed. My family was fortunate enough growing up that we always had food, but I have friends who went hungry and really bothered me."

For three hours every Monday, Linda can be found working in SFBFS' Demonstration Garden watering, fertilizing, transplanting, harvesting and removing pests from the seasonal produce. A long-time fan of gardening, Linda loves tending to her own floral garden but never grew vegetables before. The past two months of volunteering in the Demonstration Garden motivated her to do more. "I find it relaxing," she says, "to work in the garden and to be outside. It's a great opportunity to do something I enjoy while supporting a cause that I love. Linda 006Sometimes I go home a bit sore but in general, I find it very enjoyable."

Mondays aren't the only day Linda spends time giving back to her community. Aside from volunteering with SFBFS and Meals on Wheels, Linda is a longstanding volunteer at her church, Sacramento Dream Center, where they serve hot meals to the homeless every fourth Saturday. From humble beginnings, not unlike those of SFBFS, Linda says it feels wonderful to be part of a small church capable of big change. "You know, I grew up poor," she explains. "But I have been fortunate. I went to school and I got a job. Now that I'm retired I want to give back. Because there is a need and because I can."

SFBFS staff describe Linda as easygoing, reliable and always willing to help. "We are growing and harvesting so much produce on a weekly basis," says Garden Assistant, Kate Wilkins. "We rely on volunteers like Linda to maintain a normal plant and harvest schedule."

As the Demonstration Garden begins to transition from spring to summer crops, volunteers are needed to help design, plant and tend to the garden. SFBFS is also always looking for volunteers to help expand and maintain the Seed and Resource Library. Anyone in the community can check out seeds from the library to plant at home, as well as gardening and health books for people who don't know where to begin.

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Are you interested in making a difference in your community as a volunteer? Click here for more information on volunteering.

Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights:

April 2014 - Linda Von Schoech
March 2014 - Rosalie Furgason
February 2014 - Kimberly Swenson
January 2014 - Nana Djunga
December 2013 - Melanie Freer
November 2013 - Mike & Judy Evitts
October 2013 - Tricia Henderson

September 2013 - Rachel Teater

August 2013 - Micheal Carter-Morse

July 2013 - Angelica Munoz

June 2013 - Bill Byrne

May 2013 - Theresa Defazio-Darosa

April 2013 - Brenda Adams

March 2013 - Maggie Ortega
February 2013 - Elitas Schmidling     
January 2013 - Matt Shields



November 2012 - Kara Schunk
October 2012 - Brian Trieu

September 2012 - Candace Chwierut

August 2012 - Hallie Vae Wallace

July 2012 - Rosemary Guzman

June 2012 - In Memory of Margot Abrott

May 2012 - Jane Eiferle 
April 2012 - Kevin Price

March 2012 - Kris Morris & Ryan Alvey

February 2012 - Green 1
January 2012 - Ellie and Maggie Keenan
December 2011 - Brian Geary

November 2011 - Pat Palley

October 2011 - Yolanda Moore

September 2011 - T. Jackson

August 2011 - Julia Siegel

July 2011 - Leslie Marria & George Langley

June 2011 - Pornpun Briggs
May 2011 - Charlotte Hansen
April 2011 - Becky Starr

March 2011 - Russ Landers
February 2011 - Evan Berry
January 2011 - Christina Ubaldo


December 2010 - Volunteer Spirit Awards
November 2010 - Cynthia Bows
October 2010 - The Jensen Family
September 2010 - Markus Mar-Liu
August 2010 - Peter Fusselman
July 2010 - Steff Echeverria
June 2010 - Michael Adams
May 2010 - Ericka Jansen
April 2010 - Rudy Garcia
March 2010 - Erv Bradley
February 2010 - Chris Suter
January 2010 - Nellie Mackie & Hank Greenfield
November 2009 - Carrie Detwiler
October 2009 - Jim and Wally Hofssis
September 2009 – Pat McManus
August 2009 – Dale Hinnen
July 2009 – Elaine Liu
June 2009 – Aiyanna Pearson
May 2009 - Lee Salerno
April 2009 - Elliot Wenzel
March 2009 - Ignatius Gruenwald
February 2009 - Helen Parra

Volunteer Spotlight – October 2011
Yolanda Moore

yolanda.jpgYolanda Moore originally came to Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) about five years ago when she was taking art classes at a local community college. She heard, by word of mouth, about a free art program for women in Sacramento, offered at a local non-profit organization. She became intrigued with the idea decided to check it out. What she found was the Women’s Wisdom Art program at SFBFS, a free art group for women from diverse backgrounds, who come together to support one another, learn new skills, and gain self-confidence and creativity. Yolanda felt very at home and started to gain confidence in her artistic abilities.

yolanda_1.jpgAfter attending classes, she decided to pursue her degree in Art at Sacramento State University. Her classes began to take up the majority of her time. Eventually she approached Helen Plenert, Women’s Wisdom Art Program Manager, to inform her that she no longer had time to participate in the program and needed to commit full time to her Sac State classes. Although Helen and the other students were sad to see Yolanda leave, it made them happy that she was pursuing a lifelong goal. By setting such a goal and steadfastly working toward it, Yolanda was unknowingly inspiring others in the program. “Even as a student, she was always a huge help in the classroom,” says Helen. “I asked her to consider coming back as a volunteer someday. It was just over a year ago when she walked back in to begin volunteer work for us. “

In 2010, Yolanda returned to SFBFS after receiving her degree as a volunteer for the Women’s Wisdom Art program.  As a volunteer, Yolanda offers support to the students in the program. “Every day is different,” says Yolanda. She typically arrives before any classes start, working with the instructors and pulling out all the necessary materials. The women often ask for help finding a certain item or ask for Yolanda’s opinion on a project. “Every woman has her own style when it comes to art,” she comments. “I try to give my opinion to them while at the same time making sure it doesn’t interfere with their own ideas.” Yolanda’s favorite part of volunteering is seeing students progress. Oftentimes students arrive unsure and afraid that they can’t create something worthwhile. The nature of the program allows them to freely express themselves and develop creatively. Once a student sees their work displayed on a gallery wall, they feel accomplished and self-confident. “The quality of the artwork created by these women is truly impressive,” says Yolanda.

Helen and the other instructors in the program value each and every day that Yolanda volunteers in the classroom. According to Helen, Yolanda is one of those rare jewels who see what needs to be done and just jumps headfirst in to do it. A new student may need some comforting and Yolanda just sits down next to her as if that was the last seat in the room and strikes up a conversation. Another minute she is up to her elbows in dirty dishes and paint brushes. “It's really a rare moment when I have to ask her to help with something specific because she usually thinks of it before I do. In fact, she may have already done it before I finish asking!” says Helen.

In addition to volunteering, Yolanda can be found painting or drawing on her own time, spending time with her friends, or visiting her family, including her grown children and five grandchildren.

If you are interested in volunteering your time to help someone in need in our community, click here for more information.