Food Pantry Program Volunteer Spotlight

The Women’s Building recently recognized its Food Pantry Program volunteers for their hard work and dedication each week, helping provide food assistance to low-income immigrant families.

Our volunteers are essential to the program as they donate their time every Monday morning to help feed between 120 to 180 people residing in the Mission District.

Honored in this year’s event for contributing great service to the program was volunteer, Effren Gonzalo Reyes, who has donated his time to the Pantry for two years. Working as a full-time restaurant chef at a hotel, Effren spends one of his days off to help out at the Food Pantry. Here, he helps organize and clean the pantry, distributes food, and manages the long line of waiting families.
Of his experience, he says, “I always look forward to Monday’s [at the Food Pantry] because I enjoy myself. I work as a chef in a hotel and I am accustomed to talking with people. At the Food Pantry I also talk to a lot of people, many different kinds.”

Effren says he has learned how to understand and communicate with people of different backgrounds and how to work well with others. Though he cannot speak to all of them in their language, he says he is able to communicate through gestures and a smile. He says, “A smile is worth more than words.”

Frances Ruiz, Program Coordinator of the Pantry, says, “Effren rocks! He organizes the line, which is a challenge because you have to make sure that everyone stays calm and collected. He is always on time, respectful to everyone, and never gets angry or raises his voice. He is a very dignified and courteous volunteer that always gives his all to the work he does. He is also very generous and makes a really yummy rice pudding that he regularly brings to everyone so that we can enjoy before the Food Pantry.”

We thank and appreciate Effren, along with all of our Food Pantry volunteers, for all that they contribute to this program and to the local community!

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