Why I volunteer: Austin Brown on Bounty & Soul

Austin Brown

Editor’s note: In the spirit of our spring Nonprofit Issue, we reached out to volunteers from several local nonprofit organizations, asking them to reflect on what inspired them to begin their work and the impact it has had on both the community and themselves. 

I began working at Bounty & Soul five years ago after moving to Asheville and finding myself unexpectedly unemployed, following two decades of a traveling career. Bounty & Soul was recommended to me by a church friend as a way to get to know the community.

I adore hard work. I love people from all walks of life. And I find it both a duty and an immense pleasure to be in community serving others. For me, Bounty & Soul is a banquet of people and personalities with volunteers, staff and participants from all walks of life and every possible background supporting each other in what feels like a colorful street party twice a week at our markets.

More people than you think have to make painful choices between healthy food and other obligations. We’ve seen it. The elderly often have to choose between medication and food. For young families, it’s the pain of having to choose between bills and the grapes, bananas and fruit their children adore. For young professionals, it’s often a choice between eating and rent. Hunger is real.

You learn in life that we are here to take care of each other. At Bounty & Soul, we collect and pass out food donated by the community back out to the community. All are welcome, and all share equally as we clear out our warehouse twice a week, giving away everything we have for free with no questions asked and no strings attached. Moreover, we support healthy lifestyles by conducting cooking and wellness classes.

Being a part of Bounty & Soul is a constant reminder to get my priorities straight and remember we are all in this together — “Y’all means All.” Come join the fun!

For more on Bounty & Soul, visit bountyandsoul.org.


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