Why I volunteer : A deeper understanding and friendships

Jan Cosman

Since 2016, Jan Cosman has worked as a volunteer for MANNA FoodBank. The nonprofit works to end food insecurity in the 16 counties of Western North Carolina, including the Qualla Boundary.

What inspired you to begin volunteering at MANNA? 

I felt that volunteering was a great opportunity for me to contribute to my community.

What have you learned about the individuals you serve?

So many folks that are in need of food assistance are hard-working families that are simply trying to put one foot in front of the other and have difficulty making ends meet. With the recent challenges of the pandemic, more and more people are relying on supplemental assistance.

What has been the greatest reward in your role as a volunteer? 

I have met so many wonderful people at MANNA — both volunteers and staff. So not only do we have the opportunity to help our community, we also get to develop new and lasting friendships.

What advice would you offer those thinking about volunteering?

I would say two things:

  1. Prepare yourself to have a  deeper understanding of food insecurity in our community.
  2. Prepare yourself for some amazing new friendships!

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One thought on “Why I volunteer : A deeper understanding and friendships

  1. Mindy D. Collins

    I have been volunteering at manna since 2007 and have done a little bit of everything there. I have seizures that don’t let it stop me and my service dog comes with me and helps out also he puts trash in the trash can and recycles and puts laundry away when they have me do rags. Charlie has also become the manna mascot. I am usually there every Friday rain or shine from 8:30 in the morning or 9:00 in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon. A few years ago I got their full plate award for so many years of dedication in helping out there. I have seizures and sometimes can’t make it but most of the time I do I have gotten my 50 hours name tag I have gotten my 100-hour t-shirt I have also got my name and Charlie’s name on the board of people who have over a thousand hours of dedication to Manna. Going to Manna on Fridays is my favorite thing to do during the week. I have seen so many workers that are employees come and go over the years but I’ve loved every one of them.

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