Don’t ask Teresa Valentine what she has done as a volunteer for the Freestore Foodbank. A simpler question would be what HASN’T she done? Throughout more than ten years of volunteering, Teresa has done almost everything – from distributing t-shirts, collecting garbage, selling rubber ducks, sorting food, pluckingrubber ducks out of the river, obtaining corporate sponsors, and even wearing a duck costume!
Teresa is not a Cincinnati native but she has lived here long enough to “count as one.” She first volunteered with the Freestore Foodbank in 1995 during the annual ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ mail carrier food drive and by 2001 she had committed to serve on a regular basis.
She sees her current role as providing support to the staff and volunteers who have direct relationships with clients. She will do whatever is needed, from working vendor booths to answering phones – at the Hunger Walk, Rubber Duck Regatta, and her favorite event, Taste of the NFL.
Teresa uses relationships made during her years as a Delta Airlines volunteer coordinator to connect local businesspeople with causes that “tug at their heartstrings.” These relationships also enable her to obtain autographed sports items to be used for the Taste of the NFL silent auction.
When asked why she chooses to invest so many volunteer hours in the Freestore Foodbank, Teresa immediately says because of the organization’s commitment to keeping overhead costs low. She respects that 94% of all donations goes directly towards serving the community.
Teresa is passing along her passion for volunteering to the next generation. She is proud that her 13-year-old son engaged with the Freestore Foodbank for the first time this year, by volunteering for the 10th Annual Hunger Walk and 5K Run.
Teresa is also inspired by the staff at the Freestore Foodbank, and wants to continue supporting the people she has gotten to know so well over the years.