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An Invitation from Kay

I want people to understand that regardless of your abilities or disabilities, you can make a real difference. Get out of the house and be fruitful! Each of us has something we can contribute. In return, you may find a whole new, welcoming world.”

Kay says volunteering has eased feelings of loneliness and uselessness she once felt and encourages others to “find ways of giving back that bring meaning and purpose to your life.”

Kay devotes a half day, two days a week, to supporting the work of Second Harvest’s operations team. Primarily, Kay enters donation receipts into the Food Bank’s inventory system. This essential role allows Second Harvest’s partner agencies to know what food is currently available for their programs.

“Because of Kay’s commitment to her volunteer role, she has developed the skills and knowledge to spot issues and prevent problems before they arise,” said Lisa Richardson, Vice President of Operations. “And she’s always willing to jump in on projects to support the team.”

You can’t put a price tag on being able to count on someone the way the Food Bank can count on Kay. For Kay’s part, she says the people she works with at the Food Bank are “like family,” which offers some insight into her devotion to her role there. Too, when you understand a bit more about Kay’s story, Second Harvest seems quite the perfect place for her to have begun a new phase of life, sharing her talents and gifts.

Before volunteering with Second Harvest, Kay worked at Winston Salem State University and Sam’s Club (simultaneously), until significant health challenges led her to an early retirement. It was 2020, the pandemic, and Kay felt she couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. That is, explains Kay, until she felt led to call and inquire about volunteer opportunities with Second Harvest Food Bank.

“Second Harvest was the one place that could use me, even with my limitations,” says Kay, but her affinity for the mission and work of Second Harvest has some deeper roots, too.

When Kay was a child, her parents divorced. Her mom worked at Baptist Hospital, but things were tough.

“There was always food on the table, not much, but Mom served it on her fine china,” says Kay. “Despite the divorce, she was determined to raise proper adults who would act accordingly in societal settings.”

Like her mother, Kay has a vocal gift and received a full scholarship to Appalachian State for voice after graduating high school. Ultimately, Kay chose a different path, marrying a man she believed would love, care, and shelter her. At 21 years old, Kay left him and the violence behind with a toddler and a three-month-old in tow. Like her grandmother and mother before her, Kay was parenting alone, subsisting on the generosity of strangers. Kay says she and her kids would not have survived without the assistance of churches and kind strangers. “God’s protection has blessed me and kept us alive.”

Later, Kay married a wonderful man who adopted her children and gave her one more. She says “It’s been a good life, not without its challenges, but blessed.”

Recently, Kay needed to take some time to be a caregiver for a family member. She says she was concerned they would give her “job” away.

“I could not wait to come back. These people are my family.”

Like our work? Looking for meaningful way to give back to your community? Consider volunteering. Check out our current opportunities here.

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Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC

3655 Reed St. 

Winston-Salem, NC 27107

Tel: 336-784-5770

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