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January 7, 2021

Volunteer Spotlight – East Lansing Rotary Club

Volunteer Spotlight graphic with photos of interviewees.

Service clubs are an integral part of the sustained growth of Weekend Survival Kits. While there are many service clubs whose members support the mission of feeding hungry kids, in this Volunteer Spotlight we are highlighting representatives of the East Lansing Rotary Club. Helping from the beginning in 2012 there has been a core group of members who distinguished themselves as delivery volunteers who could be counted on rain, shine, or global pandemic to make sure that the food kits are getting to the children who truly need this extra support.Volunteer Spotlight - Show's East Lansing Rotarian Jim Little

Weekend Survival Kits utilizes volunteers to do all sorts of tasks from packing kits, to loading the vehicles, then actually driving, and delivering the kits to the schools. The ELRC volunteers have been a large part of our regular delivery efforts. The core group includes Rotarians Bob Page, Joe Osypczuk. Ody Norkin, Bill Webb, Keith Thomas, and Jim Little.

Volunteer Spotlight Members Say Why They Serve

We were able to spend some time with Bob, Joe and Ody to learn more about their individual reasons for volunteering and what keeps them coming. It is always interesting to discover the very personal reasons why some people volunteer.

Our first question is whether any of the team had personal experiences with food insecurity. Ody Norkin weighed in first to share his family history “I grew up in the 60’s, and my family qualified for the schools’ free lunch program. We were immigrants that came to America not being able to speak English. That is why I am particularly sensitive to the stigma that families, particularly the children, who may have shame in receiving food supports.” Joe Osypczuk recalls that as a child he was aware that their family went through some trying times, but for the most part was very blessed. Our senior leader of the team, Bob Page, reflected on the fact that he was born during the Great Depression when food insecurity was somewhat universal.

What Keeps These Volunteers Coming

Next, we asked our volunteer Rotarians what it is about the Weekend Survival Kits program that fuels their continued commitment. Bob pointed out that for him he really appreciates the fact that Weekend Survival Kits is such a well-organized nonprofit. He also acknowledged the fact that there is a direct link for the students in having enough food and being able to attend to their academic studies.

For Joe, he reflected on the time, pre-pandemic, when delivery drivers were able to deliver the kits directly to a child’s locker. “I remember having a touching moment when a 6-year-old girl ran to me to thank me for the food. I won’t forget that happy little face.”

Ody described the benefits of helping a charitable organization which is efficient and knowing that the help is going to the right places in the community. He also acknowledged that Jeff Gorsline, founder and Executive Director of WSK, is always thanking us for our service.” We should be thanking him for his efforts to create and sustain the Weekend Survival Kits program!”‘

In closing, the ELRC team members, speaking for the whole club, encouraged Weekend Survival Kits to continue to utilize the club and its members as a valuable resource of talent, beyond the work of packing and delivering….”there are so many ways that we can help.”

It is that spirit that has infused hope and a continued commitment to this important mission of feeding hungry kids in the local communities. Weekend Survival Kits is honored to be the grateful recipient of so much time, treasure, and talent from all the members of the East Lansing Rotary Club, our Volunteer Spotlight organization for January 2021!