Editor’s note: Volunteers shared their stories with us at this year’s Volunteer Appreciation Brunch, highlighting their volunteer efforts and how the experience has impacted them.
Debbie Parsons, AIDS Services
I have been volunteering with The Health Trust AIDS Services since June 2008. As a volunteer with AIDS Services, I deliver food once a month on a Saturday morning to individuals and families that are living with HIV/ AIDS in our community.
I do this work because I’m South African born and raised. Of the 36.9 million people living with HIV, the African continent accounts for 71%. Because of that, it was a big part of my life growing up.
In 2013, 1.5 MILLION people DIED from HIV and 1.2 million in 2014. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t create a cure, but I have time. So once a month, I go to The Health Trust, load my car up and drive to people’s homes to bring them healthy, balanced groceries. I absolutely love knocking on the doors with a smile and dropping off these groceries to people who are unable to get to The Health Trust. We are making an impact, we are able to change lives.
While volunteering, I have seen how The Health Trust has improved the quality of people’s lives in our community. 7 years later I still show up and deliver because The Health Trust is a program that I can stand behind – that uses its resources carefully to maximize the impact in our community. I’m so grateful to all the kind volunteers who show up wanting to make a difference.
Bill Hepburn, Meals On Wheels
When they asked me to talk a couple of minutes about what I do as a Meals On Wheels driver, I thought “what’s to say?” A driver drives. We pick up the lunches from where they were packed up and deliver them to our clients. Of course, we all have changed our share of light bulbs, smoke alarm batteries, taken out trash and lots of other little things that are easy to do, but hard for someone else.
How long have you been doing it? Well, that was easy. I started almost 10 years ago, in February of 2006. I have driven 920 times, made 8,638 stops, and gone 42,522 miles. I have gotten one traffic ticket, and was rousted by the police once while I was driving around lost in a Mobile Home Park looking for a new client’s home. I have delivered one guy’s lunch 392 times, so you do make friends with some people; most are glad to see you, others not so much.
Why do you do it? That one is a little harder because the answer sounds like I am playing “Let’s Make a Deal” with God. I can only hope that when I need a bit of help to make my life better, there will be someone who is willing to take some time out of their day to make my day a little easier. If not me, then who will do it now?
If you would like to volunteer with The Health Trust, or earn more about our volunteer opportunities, please contact Michelle Leporini at 408.961.9862 or email her at email@example.com.