During the Spring and Summer months – now stretching into Fall, LSA has heavily relied on the kindness and generosity of our volunteers. As much of the world seemed to stop amidst the COVID-19 crisis, communities across the city needed organizations like LSA more than ever. The services we have been able to provide during this time is because of the dedication and commitment that our volunteers have shown.
During this multi-part series, we introduce a few of the volunteers who have continued to keep LSA running. We thank all of our volunteers and supporters who have helped us in supporting the East Harlem community.
Fatima first heard about volunteer opportunities at LSA from friends at CUNY Lehman College where she studies Dietetics, Food, and Nutrition. Volunteering at LSA, Fatima assists with bagging food, ensuring products are flowing from production place to distribution place, helping the front line leader in handling bags to the customers, and making sure production places are clean.
But this isn’t Fatima’s first experience working around food. She previously volunteered at City Harvest and the Lehman Campus Food Bank before becoming a LSA volunteer. Volunteering at LSA not only gives her a sense of motivation and accomplishment in helping her community, but also will help her one day better serve her own clients as a doctor or registered dietitian. “I wanted to meet more people and learn more about food service and the community, and get to know about different races, what they eat, what kind of food they pick up when they go shopping,” said Fatima. “It’s strange how helping others makes me feel motivated to do more for others, it motivates me to do more good things for the community, and it makes me appreciate my life more.”
Originally from Vienna, Austria, but a New Yorker for over 15 years, Lisa and her family recently moved to the East Harlem neighborhood before the COVID crisis struck. A flight attendant for American Airlines, Lisa used her time to help serve her new community. “I’ve been wanting to help the local community during these hard times,” said Lisa, “and I was fortunate to have the time to do so since my job/flying slowed down.”
As a Food Pantry volunteer, Lisa assists with the preparation and distribution of food packages to individuals and families. And the community’s gratitude has not gone unnoticed. “The gratitude people have shown has been amazing,” said Lisa, “for example, some local mothers have been bringing the volunteers delicious home-cooked meals.”
Raymundo is a New Yorker, born in Mexico City with a long history with LSA. A former, long-term East Harlem resident Raymundo and his family received services from LSA before becoming a volunteer and staff member. Now in the food industry, Raymundo returned to his roots to support his fellow New Yorkers at LSA during the COVID crisis.
“I strongly believe in giving back to those who have helped me get to where I am today,” said Raymundo. “During my time as a client, employee and now volunteer LSA has turned into a second home for my family and me.” With his many years of experience at LSA, Raymundo has truly touched every aspect of the agency. From head custodian to working in advocacy, Raymundo has met a lot of extraordinary people. “[The people of LSA] are like angels, said Raymundo. “I didn’t know people like that could exist until I came to LSA.”