Each month, a volunteer at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month's volunteer spotlight is:

Kate Williams - February 2018

Kate Williams Feb 2018.jpg

Baby clothes and bouncers and strollers, oh my! The Sacramento community generously supports Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ (SFBFS) Parent Education program with donations of these items to support new and expectant parents. When donations arrive, volunteers inspect and sort all items and display them in the Parent Education boutique. Participants turn in their earned “baby bucks” in order to receive goods. The incentive-based program runs with the help of a team of dedicated volunteers. One of these volunteers is Kate Williams, who has been an SFBFS volunteer for two years.

Upon retiring from a career in water and environmental policy, Kate Williams knew she wanted to be involved as a volunteer in a local organization, so she attended orientation at SFBFS. Soon, she was helping in Parent Education’s boutique and warehouse area on a weekly basis. Her favorite part of this volunteer role is helping families find the clothes, toys or equipment they need. After two years on the job she has fun suggesting improvements and implementing systems of organization to manage the influx of items. “Our goal is to get these donations out the door to people that need them,” explains Kate. The volunteers face challenges of limited space in the boutique and the warehouse, so they have come up with creative ways to sort items. Gabriela Lopez, Parent Education Program Manager, welcomes suggestions from her volunteer group. “Kate is always offering suggestions for ways that we can improve the boutique,” says Lopez. “She loves giving rhyme and reason to the chaos of the warehouse.”

In addition to helping create a welcoming, beautiful and organized space in the boutique, Kate also enjoys interacting with the clients. She enjoys the diverse cultures and languages of the families. Kate is grateful that the program is available to help families in emergencies, such as a woman who unexpectedly received custody of her sister’s newborn and was completely unprepared. “We got her everything she needed for the baby,” recalls Kate. She is happy when she is in the right place at the right time to help, such as when she encountered an overwhelmed mom who was trying to shop while managing a five-year-old, a toddler and a new baby. “We heard the baby crying, so I offered to hold the baby so she could finish shopping,” says Kate, who is also a mom and recalls the struggle of shopping with children.

When asked why she continues volunteering, Kate comments, “I am glad I can do it now that I’m retired. When you’re working and raising a family, it’s hard to make time to help out.” She also feels that SFBFS truly appreciates its volunteers, adding, “Gabby is open to our ideas just as if we were staff members. It’s nice to know that changes we suggest are implemented as policy.” Lastly, Kate simply enjoys her time with staff and fellow volunteers. “Volunteering is also a wonderful social outlet. I love working with the staff at SFBFS and the other volunteers – that was a nice surprise!”

When she is not in Parent Education, Kate is an ambassador for SFBFS in her neighborhood of Curtis Park. She recently wrote an article for her neighborhood publication encouraging the Curtis Park area to donate to SFBFS.  She also has offered to become a drop off point for family and neighbors so she can deliver donations to SFBFS. Kate also volunteers on the board for the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, and enjoys gardening, tap dance lessons and spending time with her husband Tom and five grown children.

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