Famed children’s author Dr. Seuss wrote in The Lorax that, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Earlier this month, Second Harvest honored many of the kind, caring and generous individuals who volunteer their time and talent to the mission of fighting hunger and feeding hope in Central Florida at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon.
Last year, 43,350 volunteers donated a total of 126,977 hours to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Volunteers helped sort donated food items, pack disaster relief boxes, prepare kids meals for summer and after school programs, rescue food from conventions and food shows, collect food drive donations, execute special events and much, much more. Join us in a round of applause, for all of our volunteers, including a few special honorees.
Andre Reyna Against Hunger Award
Andre Reyna was a very special young man. As a student at UCF and frequent volunteer for Second Harvest Food Bank and other local causes, Andre cared very deeply about social justice. And about making sure that people had the basics of life available no matter their financial resources. He had planned a life of public service and helping others. His life was tragically cut short, however, in an auto accident in 2009. Today, his memory and his spirit continue to motivate his family, friends, and many others throughout the community to get involved and make a difference. Second Harvest presents an award each year to honor Andre’s memory, and to recognize other people who continue to work for others in the spirit that he demonstrated.
This year, the award goes to someone who has been a huge supporter of Second Harvest through RunDisney since our inaugural year as the beneficiary in 2017. One race wasn’t enough, though, she had to take the challenge and run all three races during Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend two years in a row, fundraising enough to provide 10,000 meals for our neighbors in need along the way. On top of her efforts to fight hunger through RunDisney, a special thing to note about this person is that she’s a young professional, who works full time and is studying to earn her Master’s Degree, taking evening classes throughout the week. Despite her busy schedule, she still finds time to volunteer in the warehouse, as she’s made giving back and helping others one of her top priorities. This person has also supported Second Harvest by attending and volunteering at Wine Women and Shoes events for the last two events. We are honored to present the Andre Reyna Against Hunger Award to Allison Logan this year.
David Pearlman Spirit of Volunteerism Award
For those of you who have been around Second Harvest Food Bank for a number of years, you may have known one of our organization’s pioneers, Dave Pearlman. Dave Pearlman was the founder and owner of a furniture company called Kane’s Furniture. There have been few people, if any, more passionate about reducing food waste and feeding people in need than Dave Pearlman. He was a man who got up before dawn to drive his trailer around to the back doors of restaurants each day collecting whatever was available and delivering it to feeding programs. He served on the Second Harvest Board of Directors for many years, and the food pantry program at Jewish Family Services in Orlando bears his name. Though Dave is no longer with us, he left a legacy of involvement, action, and hope. He proved the impact that one individual can have on a serious problem.
It truly takes a village to help feed all our neighbors in need. Some volunteers come for a quick afternoon once a year, some once a month, yet others make this work part of their daily lives. This year’s Volunteer of the Year has been supporting Second Harvest for more than 15 years. Every two weeks he brings a group to volunteer with him from a community-based day program for adults with developmental and other cognitive disabilities. The volunteer shift is a way to expand opportunities and meaningful life experiences for the group members. In all, this person and the group have served more than 600 volunteer hours at Second Harvest. In addition, they’ve hosted food drives and collected enough food to provide 10,800 meals for those in need. Please join us in congratulating our David Pearlman Volunteer of the Year, Paul Durand!
Going the Extra Mile Award
Since January 2016, a very special group has volunteered weekly at Second Harvest. What makes them special is the way have adopted the meat sorting area and made it their own. For anyone that has ever helped out in this area, you either love it or you don’t – there’s no in-between. This group can run the project on their own and the Second Harvest staff are so very grateful to them for their initiative and dedication.
On average this group sorts about 15,000 pounds of meat in a 3-hour shift making their grand total approximately 2,730,000 pounds of meat! This group has also helped out in other areas of the Food Bank. Whether its rolling silverware for a Chef’s Night or decorating wine glasses for Wine, Women & Shoes, this group is always up for the challenge. Thank you, Florida Orlando Mission for always “Going the Extra Mile.”
Finally, Second Harvest would like to recognize all of the Volunteer Captains. These dedicated individuals are instrumental to projects in the production kitchen and the warehouse. They take a lead role in ensuring volunteer shifts run smoothly by setting up work stations, providing group instructions, moving pallets and a variety of other tasks.
Volunteers truly care an awful lot and it shows, each and every day. See more photos from the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon on Facebook. And, sign up for your next volunteer shift at www.feedhopenow.org/volunteer.