Empowering Our Volunteers To Be The Best

Empowering Our Volunteers To Be The Best

As many know, a huge percentage of our Food Bank volunteers are retired individuals but

 if you come on a Tuesday, you will find a young man who looks oddly out of place (and yet, obviously right at home). Emery Lindauer, a local high school aged student gives his time every Tuesday to help here in the warehouse. Emery is homeschooled and part of a local Boy Scout troop. He is hard working, fast, efficient and does every task given to him with an upbeat attitude. His love for the Food Bank is obvious and his friendships with our older volunteers are strong.

When Emery became eligible to pursue his Eagle Scout achievement in early March, he came straight to Linda to find out what he could do to improve and enhance the Food Bank building. And of course, what better project could there be than the Hope Backpack Program. With the Grabil building available but not yet ready for Backpack assembly, it was obvious that this was the perfect fit for Emery to earn this honor and be able to serve the food bank in a new capacity. By the second week of March, the plan was in place for Emery to build out counters and workspace for our backpack team to move into.

As anyone who has worked on an Eagle Scout project knows, it can take months to get project approvals and plans into place. There is a paperwork process, which then has to be reviewed and signed off by multiple people. Emery got all of his needed items together, got them submitted and began the waiting process in late March. However, with the steady growth of our Backpack program, it was obvious that we needed to get our team out from the upstairs hallway and into the Grabil building as soon as possible.

Linda reached out to Emery and expressed her concern that we needed construction to start soon, and Emery promised he would see what he could do. Within one week, Emery had made phone calls, had meetings and gotten his project signed and ready to be started. It was time to make this plan come to life!

The Food Bank was willing and prepared to buy all necessary materials for the building project – But Emery decided to go above and beyond here too. He took a trip to Hamilton Lumber, dressed in uniform and a smile on his face, and came back to tell us that Hamilton was donating every item and material needed for the project. The joy and excitement on Emery’s face was obvious – He took great pride in being able to do everything he could for our Food Bank.

During Spring Break, Emery gathered a team of scouts to come into the food bank to start construction on April 5th under the supervision of Jim Pickering. Pouring rain, with canopies set up outside, they set to work creating the countertops. The project was expected to take two, maybe three weeks of working. But again – Emery went beyond expectations. The construction was completely done by 2pm on that very first day of work. A beautiful, sturdy L shaped counter, providing roughly 23 feet of work space, was ready and waiting in the Grabil building. Emery was beaming with pride.

The next day, Emery brought another group of help – This time, some families from his church- and within a few short hours, all the food supplies for the Hope Backpack program were moved from the upstairs hallway, down and out to the Grabil building, and set in place exactly as they needed to be. Every single item had been placed exactly where it was supposed to go – right down to the signs the backpack team had hanging above each food group.

This project was something that was done with love, joy and pride – by someone who serves the food bank with all his energy and all his heart. We are so grateful to have Emery as a part of our team and be able to watch him grow into an amazing young man. The lessons that he is able to learn from those he works with here, along with the sense of empowerment we are able to give him with a project like this, is something amazing. There is so much more good that comes from this food bank than just feeding the hungry – We are inspiring, encouraging and empowering volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to be their best selves.