Volunteer Spotlight

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

Anna Guzuvaty - November 2014

You may not know it, but volunteers are the heart and soul of everything we do at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). Each year on the Monday before Thanksgiving, more than 150 amazing volunteers join forces to help distribute more than 7,000 turkeys, each accompanied by two bags of holiday food items, to families in need. This year's annual Turkey Distribution will be held on Monday, November 24 and it will be Anna Guzuvaty's third year volunteering for the event.

Born and raised in Sacramento, Anna works for an attorney general's office that handles victims of crime. Two years ago, her psychology professor encouraged her to help with a Halloween-themed anti-bullying fair that happened to be hosted at SFBFS' North Sacramento location, the Saca Community Learning Center. There, she met Genevieve Levy, SFBFS' Programs Director. Anna had always wanted to volunteer directly with the community but could never seem to find the time while juggling work, school and family. With the holidays approaching, she had finally found a break in her schedule and asked Genevieve about the different ways to get involved at SFBFS. When Anna told her that she could speak Ukrainian and Russian, Genevieve knew exactly how Anna could help serve the community.

At the Turkey Distribution, there are three volunteer positions: Line Monitors, Translators and Helpers. Line Monitors are placed throughout the inevitable line that can reach over a mile long and begins forming outside of SFBFS' Oak Park facility during the wee hours of the morning. Line Monitors must be age 18 or older and are placed throughout the line to help keep people safe by making sure the line stays out of any intersections, serving as a cross guard as the line begins to move, and answering any questions about the event. Translators are Line Monitors who can speak a second language and can translate it into English – the perfect job for Anna. SFBFS needs Translators of all languages spoken in the Sacramento area, including Spanish, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), Hmong and Vietnamese. Helpers are groups who assist the recipients in carrying their heavy turkey and two bags of food to their car (if it is located within a 2 block radius) or wait with their food at the pick-up area while they go get their cars.

"I knew that Anna was an awesome volunteer from the first time I met her. She was a young woman with a great attitude and presence. She knows how to take charge and I can always trust her to get things done," Genevieve said. During her first year, Anna saw how easy it can be to help the community. "Answering a question in Ukrainian is simple for me," she says, "but it made a huge difference to the people that I talked to, to be able to understand what was going on and to feel supported as they waited in line."

Needless to say, Anna came back to volunteer again last year. "I love everything about the Turkey Distribution - I think it's really neat! I love statistics, so when I hear how many people come out and how many meals are provided, the number of volunteers and the way it's orchestrated - it's unbelievable - and it's fun! Even if you sign up for the whole day, being there outside standing on your feet for 8 hours, we have a lot of fun!"

No orientation is required for volunteers at the Turkey Distribution and, if you ask Anna, you should really consider joining us this year. "There's a lot of stuff that needs to get done that just needs hands," she encourages. "It gives the community purpose when each person can make a small contribution and it accumulates into something bigger, for the greater good. When we come together to help others, and when that motivation comes within, we have the ability to accomplish so much!

Interested in getting involved with this year's Turkey Distribution? You can sign up for shifts on our volunteer calendar.

Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights:

November 2014 - Anna Guzavety
September 2014 - Lisa Wolfman
August 2014 - Edie Blackshire
June 2014 - Christine Trillo
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

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

 

May 2012 - Michelle Garcia
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.