The Opportunity Council has a big job combatting local poverty and working to connect Bucks County families to resources that will help them thrive. But if one thing is for sure, it’s that we cannot do it alone! We have been more than fortunate to meet many special people that share an interest in investing their time back into our community.
“Where would we be without our wonderful volunteers?” asked Eileen Albillar, Volunteer & Connections Manager for the Opportunity Council. “We have so many volunteers that give their time and do a lot of work to support us.”
The Opportunity Council has so many volunteers to thank. As a Toys for Tots distributor, we had students and teachers from the Bucks County Intermediate Unit’s WOW (We’re Outstanding Workers) program inventory, count, log and sort over 1,700 toys in December 2013! We also have our partners at Pennridge F.I.S.H, Bucks County Housing Group and Quakertown Food pantry pitching in to get the toys to kids in our communities!
During our Adopt-A-Family campaign, Karen and Mike served as greeters for our donors as they dropped off their gifts, and we had Christine, Dave, Joyce, Debbie, Lori, Hillary, Valarie, Jean and Patrick on hand to receive, organize and deliver the gifts as they were coming in. We also owe a special thank you to Mark and Dennis, our volunteer drivers! They not only pick up large food donations for our food pantries every single week, they also made special deliveries to bring presents to our clients! Volunteers also pitch in around the office. Sherri B. takes on the tough jobs, from organizing our supply closet, to decorating our holiday tree at the Pearl S. Buck House and even driving a last minute 18-pound ham donation to our Doylestown office to make sure it got to a family in need!
We’d like to express our gratitude by sharing some of our volunteer stories with our Volunteer Spotlight!
We met Kate (from Newtown) at our Adopt-A-Pantry event back in May. She helped us collect and distribute 11.5 tons of food to fill our local pantries, and we hit it off right away.
“I’ve been interested in helping with poverty issues since my teen years, but I wanted to find something where I would be really helpful to the organization,” said Fishman. I ran into BCOC at Adopt-A-Pantry, and it seemed to be a really good fit.”
Kate connected with Eileen and our Development Director, Jessie Marushak during the food drive, and Kate began coming to the office twice a week to help with data entry assignments.
“Kate makes our work possible!” said Marushak. “She comes in twice a week every week and helps us with development projects, makes us laugh, and adds so much joy to our office. Sometimes, when we have an especially large work load, she volunteers to come in extra days – to make sure we can finish everything! She’s amazing.”
Kate feels a personal connection to our ongoing fight against poverty.
“As a teenager, I remember seeing people in my neighborhood who needed assistance, and you feel just helpless seeing them all,” said Fishman. “Then I had my own struggles after my divorce as a single mother.”
Today, she is glad to come into our Administrative office twice a week and do her part to help our cause.
“It’s like a village, everyone comes together to help with the cooking, providing the daycare, all of that for those that are on public assistance,” explained Fishman.
We enjoyed a very pleasant surprise towards the end of 2013 when we received a volunteer inquiry from Tori McDaniel from Warminster, who is enrolled in our Economic Self-Sufficiency program! She’s a working mother going to school full-time, but she told her Coach, Deb Rosenberg, that she wanted to do something for the Opportunity Council. Deb connected her with Eileen, just in time for the holidays!
“I felt that since BCOC does so much for me, why not give back?” said McDaniel. “It’s a nice environment to be a part of.”
Tori has been an instrumental part of our Adopt-A-Family event, especially when she loaded toys into one of our vans with a level of precision that would rival the greatest Tetris masters! She is also helping various departments with data entry assignments, filing and inventory-which she is happy to do.
“They always feed me. They’re like a big happy family,” said McDaniel.
We couldn’t be more thankful for the work Kate and Tori have done for the Opportunity Council, and look forward to seeing what we accomplish with their support in the future!
As 2013 comes to a close, we are looking back at our success stories, from our 20 Economic Self-Sufficiency clients that graduated out of poverty to our second season of helping out in the Hope of the Harvest Garden, our Back-to-School Gift Card Drive, and our ongoing Give-A-Christmas event, and we felt we had to acknowledge the people that have donated their time to supporting our mission and improving quality of life for Bucks County families.
To our volunteers, “thank you” doesn’t cut it. You have donated your time and energy to making life more manageable for our friends and neighbors in Bucks County who need support.