Ryan Lore’s volunteer work is worlds away from his day job. And that’s what he likes about it.
“It’s a nice change of pace. I do policy and economic work all day long at the office, and when I come here, it is a completely different skill set,” he says.
Lore, 44, hoists boxes and drops hundreds of donated cans into dozens of different bins in the Capital Area Food Bank’s huge food distribution center — hours of physical labor, with tangible results.
“It is a workout to lift all those boxes! After an evening of [volunteer] work, when I look at an entire palette full of boxes, it is instant gratification,” he beams.
The human resources consultant started volunteering at the Capital Area Food Bank in 1996, just after moving to Washington, D.C. from New Jersey to attend grad school. He was studying Public Policy at Georgetown University, and was immediately struck by the mission of the organization and the people the food bank reaches.
“And I liked the idea of meeting other people. I have been volunteering for a minimum of one evening per month, and for all those years, the food bank has made me feel appreciated.”
He knows the fruits of his labor will be appreciated, too, as he puts together bags brimming with a week’s worth of food for those unable to make ends meet every month.
“It’s a nice feeling knowing the palettes we load will be at a senior center within two days,” the Glover Park resident explains.
Every volunteer has a different reason for donating time to the hunger cause, and every socio-economic background is represented on the evenings when volunteers buzz around the sprawling warehouse floor.
Currently, the food bank has attracted 18,000 volunteers a year, saving it $2.2 million in staff costs.
“The food bank seems to keep its volunteers around for a long time – there is not a lot of turnaround. We never stand around wasting time – it’s very well organized.”
“I like to practice selflessness.” Lore says, noting that he revels in spending time with those who share his passion. “Imagine, a Wednesday after a long day of work, when you are already tired, or early on a Saturday morning when they could be sleeping in – something is driving these people to come out to help their community.”
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