Mike, Tom, Dave and Howard are a small, but dedicated group of volunteers that provide an important service for Neighbors’ food shelf: donation pick-up. Since our donations are many and we are few, Neighbors relies on volunteers to help us retrieve, load and deliver some of the donations we get from our local food partners. These store partnerships are invaluable to Neighbors, as they provide the majority of the produce the food shelf receives.

At 7:30 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, these four head to a local Cub for an hour of gathering and sorting items from each department to be taken to Neighbors for distribution at the food shelf, bakery shelf and fresh foods table. At around 8:15, Mike and his pickup truck meet up with the group (after a collection from Target aided by Dave more often than not) and they load the donation for delivery.

Despite their strong rapport, this group hasn’t always known each other. “You know, Tom’s got the best story here!” shouts Dave. Tom throws him a sheepish look, “Yeah, I guess.”

Tom began volunteering at Neighbors after curiosity plucked him from his daily routine. After his retirement from firefighting, Tom spent most days enjoying a coffee in the crisp morning air outside of nearby Black Sheep Coffee Café. Always the ardent observer, Tom began to take notice of a truck full of food that would pass by the café frequently in the morning. When his curiosity finally got the better of him, he followed it to its destination.

Back at Neighbors, Tom was introduced to Mike, Dave and Howard. Each had their own background and reason for joining the volunteering effort at Neighbors, but they soon became fast friends. We’re thankful for that — Neighbors is a better place because of them.