Volunteer Spotlight

Kids' Meals Volunteer Spotlight

MEET VOLUNTEER: BEN SANDERS

Ben regularly prepares meals in our kitchen for Houston's hungriest little tummies, and goes on route with our Hope Providers to deliver meals. Ben is a huge help to our Hope Providers because he assists them in loading their vans and distributing the meals to our little ones. We are so grateful for his hard work and great spirit. Thank you, Ben!

Tell us about yourself! My name is Ben Sanders. I am a retired middle school/high school math teacher. I taught in the Houston area for 30+ years before finally deciding to retire last year. I was born and raised in Dallas before moving to Houston. I have lived here since 1972. I have one son, who is happily married and one precious grandson, who live in Oklahoma.

How did you first get introduced to Kids' Meals?: I first heard about Kids' Meals when making sandwiches at my church. I became interested in where all those sandwiches went after we made them. I contacted Kids' Meals and asked what volunteer opportunities were available.

What keeps you coming back?: Even though I had been in the "kid business" all my teaching years, I didn't realize there were so many needy preschool children in Houston. I was amazed when I found out the number of meals distributed each day! Each driver distributes 400-800 sack lunches a day!

What’s the most rewarding thing you have taken from this experience?: Kids' Meals provides a valuable service to the community. Many preschool children are cared for by grandparents and other extended family members rather than by commercial daycare providers. For many of these children, Kids' Meals supplies the lunches they might not otherwise receive. My biggest shock after I began helping distribute lunches was the deplorable living conditions in which many of these children live. Even though I have lived in Houston many years, I had never been to Independence Heights, Denver Harbor, Magnolia Park, Carverdale or the trailer parks and apartments along Hempstead Highway.

 

MEET VOLUNTEER:  ELIZABETH HOGAN

Elizabeth has been picking up prepared meals and delivering them to the doorsteps of our preschool-aged clients on her own route for more than a year!  Her service allows us to care for more children and we don't know what we would do without her.  Thank you, Elizabeth!

Tell us about yourself! I am a native Houstonian.  I met my husband in high school and graduated from the University of Texas. I taught school briey but “retired" to raise our children.  We have three daughters ages 15, 12 and 10 who all attend The Kinkaid School.

How did you first get introduced to Kids' Meals?   My husband Wyatt and I were introduced to Kids’ Meals through our work with The Children’s Fund. We loved the hands-on nature of the work at Kids’ Meals and the fact that our children who were all very young at the time could make the sandwiches and have an active role in helping others.

What keeps you engaged at Kids' Meals? I truly believe in the mission that Kids’ Meals has to make Houston the first city without a hungry child. Children cannot develop physically or emotionally if they are hungry.  I love having an opportunity to serve others, to reach out of my small world and help families who want the same things for their children as I want for mine, but just do not have as many financial blessings.  I have been driving the same part of a route on the East side for well over a year.  I now know the men and women who are caring for these children.

How does volunteering at Kids' Meals make you feel at the end of the day? Volunteering at Kids’ Meals has become a regular part of my Monday schedule.  I feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish my route and all of my lunches are gone, but I also wish I could do more for the neighborhoods I am in and for the families I see.

How has Kids' Meals impacted your life? Kids’ Meals has given me a meaningful place to serve others, and it has given our children a place to help, too.

 

MEET VOLUNTEER NANCY DIXON

Nancy Dixon PortraitWe met Nancy Dixon in 2013, when she began volunteering at the old Neighborhood Centers location. In the past two years, Nancy became a regular - coming in on a weekly basis to volunteer. What we admire most about Nancy is her hardworking and humble nature. She's the first volunteer in the door and the last one out, making sure every table has been wiped and every crumb swept. As an experienced volunteer, Nancy takes on a leadership role in the kitchen and shows new volunteers the ropes. Thank you for going above and beyond, Nancy!

Tell us about yourself! 

I grew up on the coast of New Hampshire. My first teaching job was in Spring, Texas. I've been a full time teacher for grades K - 7th grade. Now I'm a substitute teacher aide in elementary classes. I enjoy working with students and teachers.

How did you first get introduced to Kids' Meals?

I was online searching for "meet-up groups," and there was a group going to the temple to make lunches. I did that for a while and then I found out about the neighborhood center location.

What keeps you coming back?

When I don't pick up a substitute job, I enjoy knowing that I'm helping to get lunches made for the preschoolers. It’s a good feeling . knowing how many children we are helping on a daily basis. It’s very rewarding to help others, especially young children. I also enjoy the friendly Kids' Meals workers and the other volunteers.

We know you love Kids’ Meals – what other hobbies or activities do you enjoy?

I am a substitute teacher aide in several schools. I also help in school libraries at the end of the school year to shelve all the returning books, and take inventory.

How do you encourage others to volunteer with Kids Meals?

I have mentioned to parents of high school students that they can help at Kids' Meals and get service hours. I've also mentioned to friends and co-workers that Kids' Meals needs help during the summer when the need of lunches is almost doubled, because school-aged students that are on free or reduced lunch programs qualify for Kids’ Meals lunches during the summer.

What do you enjoy most about the Kids’ Meals volunteer experience?

I feel great when I can be productive and help a great organization like Kids' Meals. Knowing that my volunteer hours help to feed so many hungry preschool children just warms my heart and inspires me to help out!

 

Upcoming Events

Saturday, 22 April 2017 09:00 AM
BBVA Compass Stadium
Friday, 03 November 2017 11:00 PM
Hilton Americas - Houston Downtown