Freestore Foodbank volunteer Derek Fry gives back and does it with a purpose. That’s what makes him a Hometown All-Star.
“A lot of us take the things that we have for granted,” says Derek. “People don’t know what it’s like to be hungry. Well, I’ve been in that situation.”
The father of two was serving in the military. He found himself facing hard times after going through a divorce.
“The feeling of not being able to support your family and wondering where the next meal is going to come from is probably the worst feeling in the world.”
Derek found some relief and compassion from an agency in South Carolina, where he was living at the time. They provided him with a basket of food for a holiday meal.
“I didn’t expect to receive help. I wasn’t looking for that. The fact that somebody took the time to help me made me want to do anything I possibly could to help others.”
And opportunity knocked.
“In 2000 I retired from the Marines and I was hired at GE,” Derek says. “One day, there was an opportunity through work to go to the Freestore Foodbank and help with food sorting. I saw what they were doing, and said, ‘this is the greatest organization in the world!’”
From that moment, Derek was hooked. From sorting food to volunteering at fundraising events, Derek has donated his time and energy to the Freestore Foodbank for the past 13 years. When asked his favorite volunteer opportunity, he doesn’t think long to respond, “The Quacky Race on Fountain Square!”
The annual event challenges employees of Rubber Duck Regatta sponsors with zany duck-themed obstacles.
“It’s a lot of fun and helps to raise awareness.”
It’s one of the many Freestore Foodbank efforts through which Derek donates his time.
“Anything I can do to help them help the community is the biggest thing in the world to me. Knowing that I helped one person, knowing that one child would be able to go to sleep and be able to have something to eat when they wake up in the morning, it makes me feel good. In fact, it’s probably the most joyous thing I do in my life.”
A sentiment so profound, Derek wants you to experience it, too. In fact, he is one of more than 8,000 volunteers who contribute to our efforts each year.
“Volunteer with the Freestore Foodbank just one time and see what happens. To see the emotion and gratitude from people receiving help, you will be touched for life!”