“Local Hunger Fighters” is a series that spotlights our awesome volunteers, community partners and donors who help raise awareness of hunger in our community and motivate people to get involved.
Huey (left) in Hawaii… or is he just at our 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon’s Photobooth?
This month, our Volunteer Services Coordinator Sam Re and Director of Volunteer Services Diane Zapata nominated Huey Harris, a Volunteer Team Leader at our BING Center in San Carlos. Born in San Jose, Huey was a plumber for 32 years. He is the oldest of 10 siblings and has two sons and one grandson. After retiring, he decided to check something off his bucket list: to do something to help others out. That’s how he began volunteering with Second Harvest. He now has been volunteering with us for the past 7 years every Monday and Wednesday and considers it his second family and an important part of his life.
“Huey has made the decision after he retired to give back to our community. He loves what we do and he is very passionate about getting food out to our people. I lean on him a lot because it’s mostly a one man show here and he is always ready, willing and able to help those less fortunate,” said Sam Re, Second Harvest Volunteer Services Coordinator.
How did you get involved with Second Harvest?
When I was still working, my two kids and my wife had been volunteering with Second Harvest. My wife with her company and my two kids because they needed community service hours for their school. They were always saying good things about the food bank when they got home after volunteering.
After I retired, since volunteering was on my bucket list, I decided to go try it myself. I loved it so much. All the people I met were really nice, and within a year I became a team leader! That’s when I really got into it – I liked having responsibilities.
As a Volunteer Team Leader, I make sure all volunteers have everything they need to complete their tasks and answers all the questions they might have about the food bank. Today, I really feel like Second Harvest completes my life.
What inspires you to fight hunger?
Seeing hunger. I always tell everybody that might need help about the food bank. Every day, I wear my green Second Harvest Volunteer bracelet (which you can see in the photos!), and I only take it off when my grandson wants to play with it! People always ask me about my bracelet. I also know some people that need help but may have too much pride to come, and I try to convince them otherwise.
I believe we’re really making progress in the fight against hunger and that warms me up inside.
Why do you volunteer?
I am old! What would I do if I wasn’t volunteering? (laughs)
I volunteer, rain or shine, and I am truly involved in this mission to fight hunger. At the food bank, we are one big family all on the same page: feeding people. The volunteers I work with offer unconditional help. They never complain about what they do.
Volunteering is very rewarding. It is stress-free and I believe it offers health benefits. It’s a very positive experience to be able to help somebody. I am able to go home and sleep well at night.
During my career as a plumber, I worked for a lot of companies that volunteer with Second Harvest, and this gives me topics of conversation.
Huey (left) with Second Harvest staff at the 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon
What’s your best memory with Second Harvest?
I don’t know which one to choose from, I have too many! (laughs) Probably the first potluck we had with volunteers at BING. We do this once a year, every year, generally in November or December. Everybody brings a dish. Staff are also invited. I enjoy the fact that we’re all there for each other.
I also enjoyed the Hawaiian-themed Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon this year: good people, good food, and great photobooth!
Huey (in the middle) at the 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon
Thank you Huey for being a local hunger fighter and inspiring us all!