Fondy Food Pantry has more than 40 volunteers – most of whom assist with sorting foods and packing food boxes.
Church, school and business groups are also welcome to help.
“We can take groups of up to eight at a time. It’s a great experience for people to see the food pantry at work, how boxes are packed, and how the food comes in and goes out,” said Food Pantry Coordinator Terry Hansen-Beno.
Volunteer Ray Hinz has a rich history with the organization. He got his start volunteering by helping his father deliver holiday hams to needy families after the Great Depression. The tradition of giving continued through his life. “I started with the Fondy Food Pantry when it began in 1973 at Church of Our Saviour. Our pastor came from Nebraska, and they had a food pantry there, so he wanted to start one in Fond du Lac,” he said. Ray offered to help coordinate the effort. “I served as a co-coordinator for three or four years and then continued to help out for 13 years. My wife and kids and I did a lot of packing.” His energy and enthusiasm for feeding the hungry is infectious, and he’s a familiar face in the pantry. He keeps busy stocking shelves, checking expiration dates on donated goods, hauling packed boxes and serving wherever he is needed.
"When I retired 2½ years ago, I had wanted to be involved in more volunteer work than I had been. When the article came up in the paper about a meeting for discussing a new location and new board for the Fondy Food Pantry, I went. The rest, as they say, is history. I had volunteered before the flood but wanted more involvement! I felt it is such a worthwhile cause because the Fondy Food Pantry provides one of our basic necessities and a help for people when they need it the most. The knowledge that is learned about the help that is needed in the Fond du Lac area and the donation of time is so rewarding both mentally and spiritually. The wonderful giving and caring people that I have gotten to meet is a wonderful bonus. I’m also proud of how the Fondy Food Pantry has grown and has reached out and continues to reach out to different parts of the community!"
"I have a passion for feeding the hungry, especially making sure kids do not go hungry. When I heard there was an opening on the board, I thought it was a great opportunity to put my skills to work for those in need. I hope we can continue to reach out to the hungry and expand our programs focused on children. We are truly blessed to be able to do this through the support of the greater Fond du Lac community."
"I enjoy a challenge that positively organizes people in an effort to meet a need. That's what the Fondy Food Pantry does. In November 2008, I was invited to a meeting that involved the planning and process of relocating the Fondy Food Pantry's place of operation. As the various committee concerns and needs were presented, I found myself being called to be the volunteer coordinator. I know I surprised my husband because during the meeting he called for a clarifying 'time out.' In spite of my background and skills, he wondered if I really knew what I was offering in terms of time. This unsolicited volunteer opportunity was a perfect match for me. I had experience with organizing two food pantries in the past, working with volunteers, organizational insight and most of all a desire to collaborate with others to bring food to those in need. Now after two years, my husband and I both know I made the right decision. I team up with a fantastic board and dedicated volunteers. We are positive and friendly and take pride in our mission-directed efforts. We learn much from each other, as we share humor and life experiences, while sorting and shelving food, packing boxes, and filling our freezer and holding areas. Although we never see our clients, we know our collaborative efforts with community agencies meet the need of feeding the hungry. We are always looking for new ways to reach out to meet food needs in the greater Fond du Lac community. The challenge persists, and I embrace the potential for positive solutions."
"I’d been involved with animal rescue work for quite a few years when my neighbor told me she was volunteering at the Fondy Food Pantry, stocking shelves, sorting food donations, etc. I was curious and wanted to try something different. Working in the pantry is like organizing giant kitchen cupboards – I love it. There’s something tangible about sealing up a packed box of food, knowing it will find its way – through a bevy of volunteers – into the home of a family who needs a helping hand. Maybe it was the June 2008 flood that bonded me to the pantry. The original pantry was destroyed, and I had 7 feet of water in my basement and lost a lot too. I figured if I teamed up with the pantry, we could give to each other, build each other back up, and that’s exactly what happened. When you give, you get."
"I have helped with the Fondy Food Pantry for two years now. I love to help people in need. I feel God has blessed me in so many ways that I want to give back to others in need. Not too long ago I picked up food from a drive being held at one of the schools. Some children who were in third grade helped me load the truck with all the soup they collected. It was so much fun hearing their stories and how they wanted to help the poor. One young boy said that he got his whole family involved a lot came up with 389 cans of soup. If you could have seen his face and how he said he could feed a lot of people with this soup. The stories I have heard are all wonderful. So many people in Fond du Lac want to help the needy. I think we all have a little compassion in us, and I would love to see more people involved with helping people who are less fortunate in our community."