“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.
This month, our Program Manager Tiffany Tedesco nominated Janice Soderberg, our Mountain View Brown Bag Leader.
Janice Soderberg, Mountain View Brown Bag Leader
“Mountain View Senior Center’s Brown Bag was over 450 people when I arrived at Second Harvest. The volunteers, clients and the senior center would be so busy it was crazy. I needed to add another distrubution in order to better serve this area. I also wanted to incorporate best practices, excellent customer service, and client choice with a farmer’s market style distribution. Janice volunteered right way and was a natural leader. I bugged her for a weeks to think about being the official distribution leader and she graciously accepted. She is wonderful and works so well with all of our clients, regardless of their spoken language,” said Tiffany Tedesco, Second Harvest Program Manager.
Janice is a part-time tutor and a property manager who has been living in Mountain View for the past 28 years. As Brown Bag Leader, she manages the flow of the Mountain View Senior Center distributions, which take place on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. She is responsible for recruiting volunteers, sharing safety rules, explaining distribution set-up to volunteers, managing registration and taking care of any person that wants to sign up as a new client.
Janice with two Second Harvest clients
How did you get involved with Second Harvest?
Last Spring, I saw a post on Next Door about volunteering with Second Harvest at a new distribution site in Mountain View, so I registered and found myself really enjoying the experience. After Tiffany Tedesco, approached me, I became the leader for that site in July.
Why do you volunteer and what inspires you to fight hunger?
There’s a great income disparity in Silicon Valley: the gap between the rich and poor is becoming wider and a surprisingly high percentage of people in the Silicon Valley are in need of food assistance.
I volunteer to give back to my community and also to put my faith into action. It is very rewarding to be able to help the seniors in our community, they are very grateful.
I also really enjoy volunteering, and I have recruited 4 of my friends as volunteers at my distribution site.
Why do you volunteer with Second Harvest?
Second Harvest has a reputation to be a well-run organization, which I have found to be true. The staff is very helpful and thoughtful to its volunteers and training is available. Since I started, working with Tiffany has been great!
What is your best memory with Second Harvest?
It is always such a pleasure to sign someone up for services for the first time. Thanks to a simple process, people who are in need and show up to our site can get a couple bags of food on the very same day. It is a great feeling.
Thank you so much Janice for being a Local Hunger Fighter and inspiring us all!