Gift of time
Every Meal is fortunate to have volunteers who share our mission of fighting child hunger. Couples Wendy and Kent Dorholt and Sue and Dan Lehrer are committed members of our community. Their gift of time and dedication is integral to our ability to make a difference for every child we serve. We appreciate them sharing how their journey with Every Meal began, how their involvement has taken shape over the years, and how they continue to find meaning through their service.
WENDY & KENT DORHOLT:
For the past five years, Wendy has been a food distribution volunteer, placing food bags for the weekend into the backpacks of children in Mississippi Elementary School, and has “enjoyed every moment of that experience.”
In 2020, when the pandemic hit, her engagement took a deeper meaning. “Our business of 25 years suddenly came to an abrupt halt. Looking for a meaningful way to help, Kent and I became part of the ‘crisis response volunteers’ at Every Meal. We’d pack food bags three days a week to help keep up with the rising demand. Since schools were closed, the food bags were going out to district and community distribution sites all over Minnesota for families to access the food. We quickly knew that this was an important part of our lives and could see the difference it was making in others’ lives. So at the end of 2020, we decided to retire from our business and wanted to stay as actively involved with Every Meal as possible to continue to help out.”
In January 2021, Coon Rapids United Methodist Church started a food distribution drive to feed families on the second Sunday of every month, and Every Meal was the first food partner. “We started feeding 300 families and are now up to 450 families. We love that Every Meal is still with us in helping to fight hunger in our communities,” shared Wendy.
“Kent and I feel it is so important to give back to the community. We continue to volunteer by packing the food bags and then distributing them into kids’ backpacks. The families at the school are truly appreciative. We feel so blessed to work with all of the wonderful staff at Every Meal and look forward to any new opportunities to help out. We encourage anyone to get involved – attend a packing event to see how much fun it is and see the difference your time makes to the children receiving the food.
SUE & DAN LEHRER:
Sue’s involvement with Every Meal goes back to 2016 when her church – Coon Rapids United Methodist – was looking for volunteers to fill backpacks with food bags for children at Mississippi Elementary School on Fridays. Sue shared, “It sounded simple to do and didn’t require a lot of time. I’ve been involved since then, mainly as a food distribution volunteer filling backpacks but have also volunteered to pack bags of food. I’ve enjoyed making a difference by providing food for families in need. My advice: Just try it once.”
Dan’s involvement started a little later, in 2020. There was a big spike in food support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of their partnership with Every Meal, the couple’s church was looking for additional volunteers to help with packing the food bags. Dan found that “it’s been fun to do and fulfilling to realize that you can help families in our community. My advice is to get involved with making a difference for others.”
Stay in the loop on volunteer opportunities at Every Meal at volunteer.everymeal.org, including how you can volunteer in our Grow & Give garden for the 2022 growing season or become a food distribution volunteer for the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.