Putting the “Give” in Givens: Givens Estates Volunteers

Givens Estates’ mission is to give back to the community. When it comes to volunteering, Givens residents are the first to say that it is more than giving; it is also receiving.

MANNA happens to be one of the lucky recipients of the Givens Estates Volunteer Program. Over the years, we have learned to recognize that the power of a gift from a Givens volunteer is stronger than just the act of giving itself. Givens volunteers not only give their time – they are sharing their gifts, wisdom, and a wealth of knowledge that can only be acquired through a life of experience.

For years, while MANNA has been benefiting from this deep pool of highly capable and well-versed volunteers, it seems that Givens volunteers have been getting something in return.

“Seven years ago when we started this program, it was kind of selfish,” says Martha Rowlett, Givens resident and a member of the Givens Estate Volunteer Partner Agency Board. The volunteer program, she explains, is a part of Givens Estates’ larger focus on resident wellness. “We do it, partly, because it’s an anti-depressant.” And the research proves it. Studies show, time and time again, that volunteering contributes to an individual’s wellness, and this is especially true for retirees.

(Left) Longtime MANNA volunteer and Givens resident, Clarence Schmidt, has worked at MANNA in a variety of roles, including volunteer food sorter and board member. He will be celebrating his 100th birthday at the beginning of May!

While resident wellness is at the top of the priority list for the Givens volunteer program, it is also about residents using the talents and experience they have acquired to give back to the community in a meaningful way…and give back they do.

In the last 12 months, Givens volunteers have donated 270 hours of service doing everything from working in our warehouse sorting donations, making bowls for the Empty Bowls fundraiser, to driving delivery vehicles to move food across the western part of the state.

“Givens Estates volunteers are a model for other volunteer groups to follow,” says Maxwell Gruber, Volunteer Manager at MANNA, “and the folks at Givens go out of their way to make it easy for interested residents to volunteer and be engaged with MANNA.”

“[Givens residents] have a lot of gifts, and here’s a way they can use those gifts productively in the community,” explains Rowlett. “There’s a wide diversity of gifts that can translate into addressing the needs of the community.” These gifts translate into a broader engagement with the agencies where Givens volunteers dedicate their time – and MANNA is a perfect example of that broader engagement.

A Work of Art

One of the artful, and gorgeous, examples of this incredible talent now lives permanently in MANNA’s recently renovated offices – an incredible accent wall made entirely of re-purposed pallet wood. Givens resident woodwork artists came up with, and executed, this beautiful work of craftsmanship that seamlessly connects the look of the new space to MANNA’s work.

Givens Estates volunteer wood artists created a unique accent wall that connects the bones of MANNA’s daily work with the visual space. Before (above) and after (below).

“We are incredibly lucky to work with Givens residents each month, and to be the beneficiaries of their skills, passion, and volunteer time,” says Gruber.

“It’s a win-win all around,” says Rowlett, of Givens’ volunteer outreach. “It’s a win-win for Givens, serving our community, a win-win for residents using their gifts in many ways, and it’s a win-win for MANNA reaching out for a variety of volunteer needs.”

We couldn’t agree more. Thank you, Givens Estates volunteers, for sharing your many gifts with MANNA FoodBank.