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:

Rick Scott.jpg

Rick - August 2018

Rick Scott has been a part of the Refugee Resettlement Services team at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) since January 2018. Staff and volunteers in this program provide needed services and support to newly arrived refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders. Sometimes it is hard to find dedicated volunteers for this program because volunteers are often needed to help families on short notice during daytime business hours. Additionally, some volunteers elect to assist families with transportation needs, either in their own personal vehicle or in an SFBFS vehicle. Because of these challenges, SFBFS is especially grateful for adaptable volunteers such as Rick.

Ten years ago, Rick retired from a career in commercial real estate appraisal. He and his wife keep very busy with volunteering in various community gardens; they also enjoy pastimes such as bicycling and travel. Rick was familiar with Senior Gleaners, the food bank that previously occupied SFBFS’ Food Bank Services campus, which lead him to attend volunteer orientation at SFBFS. He was also motivated to act after reading an article in the Sacramento Bee about the challenges faced by Sacramento’s new population of Afghan refugees and SIV holders. As a former Peace Corps member, he can empathize with the feeling of being new in a foreign country.

During his volunteer hours, Rick assists families with many different things. He will give people rides to take care of important errands such as setting up their utilities. He has helped assemble bunk beds prior to a family’s arrival to their new apartment. He picks up grocery donations and takes it directly to refugees’ homes. Recently, he helped an SIV holder by driving him to the Bicycle Kitchen in midtown Sacramento. The man had purchased a new, unassembled bicycle and needed help building it and learning the basics of bicycle repair. “If the phone rings and I’ve got time, I’ll help,” says Rick. “The families I’ve helped are so grateful and I’m so impressed with how hard they work. Many of the men are holding two jobs to make ends meet for their families.”

Rick recognizes the struggles of the refugee and SIV families. The majority of SFBFS’ resettlement cases are SIV families. SIV holders are individuals who were employed by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, often supporting U.S. troops as translators/interpreters. Back in Afghanistan, most lived middle class lifestyles but upon arrival in the U.S., they start in poverty and work their way up. “We should support these hard-working families,” comments Rick. “I view it as a patriotic duty to help our friends. Our troops relied on them and helped protect them. That is one of the primary reasons I got involved as a volunteer.”

Through volunteering, Rick is learning about Afghan culture and encourages others to get to know their new Afghan neighbors. He has enjoyed sharing tea and dried fruit with some of the families he has met. SFBFS is grateful for Rick’s generosity of time and spirit to help ease the transition for the families served by SFBFS' Refugee Resettlement Services.



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