Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:
Anna Guzuvaty - November 2014
You may not know it, but volunteers are the heart and soul of everything we do at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). Each year on the Monday before Thanksgiving, more than 150 amazing volunteers join forces to help distribute more than 7,000 turkeys, each accompanied by two bags of holiday food items, to families in need. This year's annual Turkey Distribution will be held on Monday, November 24 and it will be Anna Guzuvaty's third year volunteering for the event.
Born and raised in Sacramento, Anna works for an attorney general's office that handles victims of crime. Two years ago, her psychology professor encouraged her to help with a Halloween-themed anti-bullying fair that happened to be hosted at SFBFS' North Sacramento location, the Saca Community Learning Center. There, she met Genevieve Levy, SFBFS' Programs Director. Anna had always wanted to volunteer directly with the community but could never seem to find the time while juggling work, school and family. With the holidays approaching, she had finally found a break in her schedule and asked Genevieve about the different ways to get involved at SFBFS. When Anna told her that she could speak Ukrainian and Russian, Genevieve knew exactly how Anna could help serve the community.
At the Turkey Distribution, there are three volunteer positions: Line Monitors, Translators and Helpers. Line Monitors are placed throughout the inevitable line that can reach over a mile long and begins forming outside of SFBFS' Oak Park facility during the wee hours of the morning. Line Monitors must be age 18 or older and are placed throughout the line to help keep people safe by making sure the line stays out of any intersections, serving as a cross guard as the line begins to move, and answering any questions about the event. Translators are Line Monitors who can speak a second language and can translate it into English – the perfect job for Anna. SFBFS needs Translators of all languages spoken in the Sacramento area, including Spanish, Chinese (both Mandarin and Cantonese), Hmong and Vietnamese. Helpers are groups who assist the recipients in carrying their heavy turkey and two bags of food to their car (if it is located within a 2 block radius) or wait with their food at the pick-up area while they go get their cars.
"I knew that Anna was an awesome volunteer from the first time I met her. She was a young woman with a great attitude and presence. She knows how to take charge and I can always trust her to get things done," Genevieve said. During her first year, Anna saw how easy it can be to help the community. "Answering a question in Ukrainian is simple for me," she says, "but it made a huge difference to the people that I talked to, to be able to understand what was going on and to feel supported as they waited in line."
Needless to say, Anna came back to volunteer again last year. "I love everything about the Turkey Distribution - I think it's really neat! I love statistics, so when I hear how many people come out and how many meals are provided, the number of volunteers and the way it's orchestrated - it's unbelievable - and it's fun! Even if you sign up for the whole day, being there outside standing on your feet for 8 hours, we have a lot of fun!"
No orientation is required for volunteers at the Turkey Distribution and, if you ask Anna, you should really consider joining us this year. "There's a lot of stuff that needs to get done that just needs hands," she encourages. "It gives the community purpose when each person can make a small contribution and it accumulates into something bigger, for the greater good. When we come together to help others, and when that motivation comes within, we have the ability to accomplish so much!
Interested in getting involved with this year's Turkey Distribution? You can sign up for shifts on our volunteer calendar.
Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights: