Community Action Partnership of Strafford County is a 501(c)(3) private nonprofit organization established under the provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act of 1964 and established in Strafford County in May of 1965.
January 5, 2023 | Volunteers
Kathy, a CAPSC Food Pantry Volunteer
In our Volunteer Spotlight series, we highlight dedicated individuals who devote their time and energy to help make a difference in their own community. In this interview, we are proud to have had a chat with Kathy, a volunteer in the CAPSC Food Pantry, to ask her a little bit about how she became involved with CAPSC, her thoughts on her experience, as well as the impact of her efforts.
We hope this interview will inspire others to give back to their communities and shed light on the vital role CAPSC volunteers play in creating positive change in the world.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into our conversation with Kathy!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
Kathy: I am a seacoast New Hampshire native, and have lived locally all my life. I graduated from UNH in 1985 with a BS in mechanical engineering. I worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard for 34 years, retiring in December 2019. I had plans to travel and get a fun part time job, but 2020 had other plans for me and the rest of the world. So rather than traveling and doing lots of hiking, my daughter and I found many places to hike locally. I cleaned, organized, and tidied all the closets, drawers, and cupboards in my house. And I was bored after a few months. I decided to try volunteering someplace instead of risking a job.
How did you first learn about CAPSC, and what was your initial impression of their services?
Kathy: I learned of CAPSC through a volunteer coordinator in Dover through the Dover Democrats. I actually had heard of their services before, but I didn’t realize they were all under the same management – the food pantry, the oil and gas help, Head Start program. All of these services provide an invaluable role in our city.
When and why did you decide to volunteer?
Kathy: I wanted to make a difference and feel like I was helping. There was also the component of just getting me out of the house in some capacity to keep busy.
Which CAPSC program is closest to your heart, and why?
Kathy: The food pantry is the program that I have helped with the most, for the last 14 months or so.
Unloading a delivery to the food pantry.
“Kathy is an amazing help. I’d love to note as well that Kathy is an extremely valuable member of this community. Not only is she flexible, professional, and willing while volunteering with CAPSC but I run into her doing other positive things outside of our work together as well. Kathy is incredibly genuine and an advocate for all.”
What are some of the activities you have been involved in?
Kathy: I have helped with “Fresh Rescue”, unloading trucks, unloading boxes, rearranging shelves, washing out refrigerators, collecting cardboard and recycling it.
Which food pantry activity has been the most meaningful for you?
Kathy: The large scale distribution of food to the various county pantries is a rewarding community affair. I also committed to the weekly collecting and recycling of cardboard due to the sheer volume of boxes generated at the food pantry, and saving them the problem of getting rid of it (in what would be a less environmental manner).
How does the agency support or encourage community volunteers?
Kathy: The personable people running the programs are truly grateful for my small contributions. It really makes a huge impact to have someone truly thankful for me simply unloading boxes or recycling cardboard.
Were there any particular individuals or staff members at the agency who made a significant impact on your experience, and why?
Kathy: Silas is wonderful. Personable, helpful, upbeat, organized, and just generally pleasant to be around.
What role do you think community organizations and individuals can play in helping families?
Kathy: Any person or organization that can help make someone’s life a little easier, day a little brighter, or generally provide help in a small (or large!) way, makes the world a more positive place. Helping others is the backbone of a civilized community,
Kathy’s unique contribution
When volunteers come to us, they help in more ways than just stacking shelves or passing out flyers. Each individual brings their own unique qualities and life experiences, and in sharing themselves and their passions, we all benefit.
For Kathy, whose passion for the environment led her to begin composting at home and eventually reducing her family’s weekly trash output to one (yes one!) bag, she was simply unable to accept that sometimes we don’t have the manpower or resources to recycle the hundreds of cardboard boxes that come through our food pantry. She took matters into her own hands, or rather her car, and committed to run our boxes to the Dover recycling center at least once per week. We didn’t ask for it, but what a huge difference it makes in clearing space in our storage areas, as well as making a small but significant contribution that lessens our carbon footprint.
Thank you, Kathy!
Kathy’s car, filled to the max with cardboard boxes for recycling
We thank the many members of our community who give their time, their skilled expertise, and their warm smiles in support of the programs at CAPSC. Whether you are interested in a one-time event, or want to find a recurring volunteer spot, our goal is to try to match our needs with your interests, and to grow our family of caring individuals who give so much back to their community. For more info, click here.
In 2021, CAPSC distributed nearly 387,000 pounds of food to approximately 8,000 Strafford County residents. Our food pantry locations in Dover and Rochester are open to the community, and our aim is to reduce malnutrition by providing access to nutritious food and supplies to anyone who walks through our doors. For more info, click here.