Volunteers Are At the Heart of Everything We Do.

Selecting one extra-special volunteer each month is one of the hardest tasks we tackle at MANNA; we love them all!

sierra2V.I.P. for August 2014: Sierra Paturalski

This month we would like to recognize Sierra Paturalski as our V.I.P. Volunteer. Sierra began volunteering at MANNA a little over a year ago, when she moved to Asheville from the suburbs of Chicago. Calling MANNA and attending an orientation were among the first things she did after the boxes where unpacked.

Sierra began as a warehouse volunteer on Fridays, and now she has expanded her duties and works with the new MANNA Food HelpLine on Thursdays.  Volunteering for MANNA has changed the way she views food and people struggling with hunger. “I had never worked at a food bank before,” Sierra says. “I was pleasantly surprised by a few things.  One, there is so much good food that gets ‘repurposed’ that would otherwise be wasted, and to be a part of getting it to those in need is gratifying. I am also happy with the amount of fruits and vegetables that I see here,” she says. “I didn’t expect there to be this much healthy food.”

Her work on the MANNA HelpLine has changed her views on hunger and how quickly a financial crisis can happen. “So many families are living paycheck to paycheck,” she says. “When people lose their job, there’s urgency to their situation. They tell me, ‘I really want to find a job and work,’ and I can tell they do.”

Volunteer manager Max Gruber says that Sierra arrived at MANNA at about the same time he began his position, and she’s been a great example to him of a model volunteer. “She’s reliable, committed, and a hard worker,” he says. “And she does it all with a smile and a great attitude.” Congratulations, Sierra, and thank you, volunteers, for all that you do!


SueV.I.P. for July 2014: Sue Quran

This month we recognize MANNA Food Helpline volunteer Sue Quran. Sue has served as one of our top volunteers with the MANNA Food Helpline since the new program was first introduced in June. In addition to assisting clients over the phone, she has also devoted countless hours organizing materials and serving as a “Packet Specialist,” compiling documentation for direct mailing to clients and the Department of Social Services. In doing so, Sue has consistently made herself available, often filling in for others, and bringing her customer service expertise as well as her heart and soul to her job. We are so appreciative of her time and skills!


V.I.P. for June 2014: Louise O’Connor


This month we recognize volunteer, sponsor, and donor Louise O’ Connor. Louise has been involved with MANNA since 2006. She took over the VERY important position of Auction Committee Chair for the Blue Jean Ball in 2013, and she and her dynamo team have taken that part of the event to the next level. She describes the hundreds of hours she donates to MANNA as a “gift of the heart,” and everyone who sees her smile knows she has a big one!

Chief Development Office Donna Ensley has this to say about Louise: “Her passion for ensuring all people have food to eat is infectious to all who know her.  Her enthusiasm for our work has touched the lives of her friends, her family and everyone she asked to help and is reflected in the outstanding results of the BJB silent auction and the amazing committee of friends who joined her putting it together.”