On a busy day in Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ Clothing Program, staff and volunteers are serving dozens of families in need. The Clothing Program allows shoppers to visit once a month and shop in the boutique-style shopping area where all clothing is given away at no cost. Hundreds of volunteers per month meticulously clean, organize and stock the shopping area with donated clothing items, providing a dignified shopping experience for anyone in need of assistance. Cindy Castronovo is one of these important volunteers.
If you have worked in a retail setting, especially with clothing, you may be familiar with the dreaded task of “recovery.” After a busy day of shoppers, clothing stores can often look like the aftermath of a tornado – clothing flung over racks, clothing and hangers on the floor, and abandoned items placed in wrong locations. The Clothing Program is no exception. Cindy’s specialty is recovery, meaning she picks up clothing, puts away hangers and generally reorganizes the shopping area.
Cindy is a retired state worker who was inspired to attend volunteer orientation after a staff member spoke at her church. Because she takes care of her aging parents, she was unable to make a regular weekly commitment. However, the Clothing Program is flexible and does not require a strict volunteer commitment. She loves the flexibility and relaxed atmosphere of the Clothing Program. “I found that Friday afternoons are a good time to come in,” notes Cindy. “At that time, it’s chaos with hangers everywhere, shoes everywhere and empty racks. It is a good time to reset the Clothing Program.”
Cindy adds, “Taking care of my parents can be stressful, and it eases my stress to be able to organize things and put things back in order.” Cindy also enjoys helping clients find needed items, in particular families with children. She assisted a father of 8 year-old twins who arrived at the end of the day when the program was sparse and clothing was out of order. “I was able to help them find what they needed,” says Cindy.
“Cindy is so important to the Clothing Program,” comments Tasha Bryant, Clothing & Donation Receiving Manager. “She volunteers whenever she has time in her schedule and helps to put the Clothing Program back together after a busy day of serving clients. She comes in quietly and makes a huge difference for us. We would love to have many other volunteers such as Cindy who are able to generously give their time, whenever it fits into their life!”
When she is not volunteering at SFBFS, you may find Cindy traveling around town on a JUMP bike or volunteering at other nonprofit organizations. Please consider joining Cindy as a Clothing Program volunteer by signing up for volunteer orientation here: https://www.sacramentofoodbank.org/volunteer-calendar