Small Tasks, Big Impact: Volunteer Spotlight on Farmer Foodshare's own Amy Gregory

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month! To kick it off, we’re featuring the multitalented Amy Gregory of Farmer Foodshare’s Wholesale Market team. She can do it all! Here’s Amy’s take on why she volunteers, and how small things can make a big difference.

Small Tasks, Big Impact

By Amy Gregory

Live Better. Help Often. Wonder More.

To say these words are why I volunteer is over simplifying, but pretty accurate. I think most people enjoy the "feels" that come from helping others. Finding opportunities within our own communities is typically the hardest part. When we think about where to start, what can can we contribute, where is the greatest need, it can be daunting. Volunteering doesn't have to be grandiose; in fact, often it’s the smaller tedious things that require attention and represent the greatest need. For me to find these opportunities to volunteer, I have only to ask around the office!!

Yes, I work for Farmer Foodshare, but I am also a volunteer! You can find me doing things like packing produce for distribution during the holidays, working Donation Stations at local farmers markets, taking photos at our speaker series, arranging flowers at our Roots & Revelry celebration, or just doing small things to help spread the word about the amazing things Farmer Foodshare does in the community.

As a member of our Wholesale Market Team, I am involved in the logistics of getting products from our farmers into the community. Our Wholesale Market delivers fresh NC produce to Durham Public Schools throughout the school year. We are very proud to be part of Durham Bowls, a program conceived by Food Insight Group, Durham Public Schools and various local chefs. You can learn all about this great program here Durham Bowls.

Farmer Foodshare’s Wholesale Market worked with Durham Public Schools to acquire some novel ingredients that were required for these innovative recipes. One of these ingredients was pureed carrots lots and lots of pureed carrots!

This is where contributing small things can make a BIG difference. Portioning out 228 quarts of carrot puree was not difficult, but it did require some time and the use of a certified kitchen space. With the help of my ever-enthusiastic and accommodating husband and The Butchers Market Raleigh, we made it happen—and it was loads of fun! Not only did we enjoy spending quality time together, knowing our efforts contribute directly to Durham Public School children was incredibly rewarding.  

Ready to get in on the fun?

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Amy and Jeff have a blast volunteering together

Amy and Jeff have a blast volunteering together

Do you carrot all? Cause that’s a lotta carrots.

Do you carrot all? Cause that’s a lotta carrots.

Amy’s intrepid husband Jeff was undaunted by the task!

Amy’s intrepid husband Jeff was undaunted by the task!

Donation Station at Foothills Farmers Market in Shelby, NC wins $1,000 Community Health Grant

Congrats are in order!

Farmer Foodshare’s Foothills Farmers Market Donation Station has been selected as the recipient of one of five $1,000 Community Health “mini-grants” from the Cleveland County Healthcare Foundation!

Big thanks to longtime lead volunteer Julie Weathers, whose dedication to the mission of supporting farmers while providing fresh food for all makes this Donation Station so successful. “I’ve always believed everybody should have access to local food,” she told Joyce Orlando of the Shelby Star.

The funds will be used to augment contributions made by shoppers, enabling volunteers to purchase even more fresh food from local farmers. All of that produce is then donated.

From May to October of last year, the Foothills Market Donation Station provided 4,100 pounds of food to ministries like Shelby Presbyterian and the Cleveland County Rescue Mission (CCRM).

“Farmer Foodshare has been instrumental in CCRM being able to offer fresh produce to the hungry people we feed daily,” Jocelyn Christenbury, CCRM’s director of community development, told the Shelby Star. “A lot of donated food is non-perishable, which makes sense when kind-hearted people want to give to feed the hungry. We prepare meals at CCRM, and just like when you cook for your family, we strive to prepare healthy meals for our family too.”

“Farmer Foodshare is a huge blessing to help our kitchen manager fill the gaps with healthy choices and monetary savings to the bottom line,” Jocelyn said.

Read the whole story at The Shelby Star: Local Program Promotes sharing Farm-Fresh Food

Foothills Donation Station coordinator Julie Weathers (left) and volunteer Margie Byars showcase the day’s haul at their table each week. A bouquet of gorgeous flowers from a local farmer is a must!

Volunteer Led, Volunteer Grown: Innovations Ahead in 2015

Farmer Foodshare volunteers are gearing up for another wonderful year – leading Donation Stations, engaging and educating customers about farmers and local hunger, and visiting and picking up food from farms and delivering it to our recipients. We are even beginning to share meals  with our farmers, market community, and recipient organizations.