“Mission: Possible” focuses on our volunteers, without whom our mission of creating a hunger-free community would be impossible! 

Mac and Zunaira are two of our regular volunteers. Mac started volunteering here by himself and enjoyed it so much that it’s his personal mission to recruit more Salesforce employees! Mac recently held a training session for Second Harvest staff to learn more about Salesforce and how it could help us keep better track of volunteers and volunteer hours.

Zunaira also works at Salesforce and currently takes care of scheduling volunteer opportunities at Second Harvest for Salesforce employees. We wanted to learn more and sat down with them.

Mac and Zunaira at the 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

Mac and Zunaira, tell us about yourselves.

Mac: I’m originally from the UK and I moved to the Bay Area in 2000. I started working at Salesforce in 2011 and I’m currently the Sr. Director, Trailhead Credentials at Salesforce.

Zunaira: I’m originally from Pakistan and I’m a Director, Technical Program Management at Salesforce.

How did you first hear about Second Harvest and how did you start recruiting other Salesforce employees to volunteer here?

Zunaira: Mac is the main star here, so I will let him explain. Personally, I have been volunteering with Second Harvest for almost two years. I help with recruiting more volunteers and with scheduling. Mac is the ringleader, he keeps us on our toes and often checks in with me to see if we are getting more people to come. Second Harvest has become a personal mission for him.

Mac: Salesforces encourages us to give back 1% of our time to volunteering. I had never done it before but I love it now. It’s become part of my life! I first started coming here two Fridays a month on my own and got to know Colleen, the Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, who is such a nice person!

I then tried to recruit more Salesforce employees to come here. We have a shuttle that comes to Cypress from San Francisco twice a month. At first I was handing out small cards, but now we have an electronic group where we create volunteering events inside Salesforce. All employees can sign up.

Mac with other Salesforce Volunteers at our Cypress Center

Salesforce employees volunteer as a group at the Second Harvest Cypress Center twice a month. We used to only come once a month, but then it got too full! Salesforce employees were really enjoying themselves and wanted to do more. That’s when Zunaira started helping with scheduling.

Some of the amazing Salesforce Volunteers!

Why do you volunteer and what inspires you to fight hunger?

Mac: The amount of families we feed here in Silicon Valley, the heart of technology, never ceases to surprise me.

Zunaira: I used to be a journalist in my home country of Pakistan. I saw how economics can separate people from their own humanity. I know what hunger feels like secondhand. At first, when I moved to the United States 14 years ago, hunger’s role in the Bay Area was not evident to me. Second Harvest opened my eyes through volunteering. I really think it’s insane that some families here work three jobs and are still not able to feed their family!

Why do you volunteer with Second Harvest?

Mac: We have a lot of fun sorting the food here! We love doing the bread but we don’t like squash – they overripen quickly and some of us have had our hands caught in overripe squash before! (laughs)

Zunaira: There are many other charities we could go to volunteer with in San Francisco, but there is something very special to me with Second Harvest. It feels like family to us at Salesforce. We feel the love when we come in, and that’s what keeps us coming back. I don’t always tell Colleen, but this kind of companionship is rare and special.

Writing a check is easy. Second Harvest, through volunteering, allows us to structure some time in our lives to do something and devote time to help others. Every Salesforce volunteer who comes with us is tired at the end of their shift, but they all leave with a huge smile and ask about signing up for the next time!

What’s your best memory so far with Second Harvest?

Mac: I really enjoyed watching David Saxton (Second Harvest Volunteer Services Manager) sing during the 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon back in April!

Zunaira: What I like most about Second Harvest is that each staff member is unique and cannot be replaced! We really love working with Pete (Second Harvest Volunteer Coordinator) and David. Pete sometimes mentions “special projects.” When he does, my brain goes into emergency mode! I know this means something annoying that must be done quickly with a small team –laughs-. For example, one time, some posters had to be rolled up for schools. I always sign up for these “special projects.” I appreciate these moments and Pete’s awesome sense of humor. I believe Second Harvest staff create the charm of this place. It really helps to be able to volunteer with laughter.

What’s your best advice for people looking to volunteer with Second Harvest?

Mac: Just turn up, you’ll always be welcome!* It will soon become part of your life. I have come here by myself, with friends, and with colleagues. I have a great relationship with all the staff at Second Harvest and this joke that one day I’ll be replacing Pete once I retire!

Zunaira: Yes, just show up! At Second Harvest, everything is organized. They provide you with the right instructions. This really helps us volunteers to be the most efficient we can be, working faster and thus feeding more people!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Mac: The best is yet to come! Once Second Harvest transitions to Salesforce, we can help you keep better track of your volunteers!

Zunaira: A huge thanks to everyone at Second Harvest! You make people aware that hunger exists in the Bay Area and we’re grateful for you. As volunteers, we do some of the easy jobs, but you do the hard part by shipping and distributing all this food. Thanks for allowing us to be a part of it!

Thanks Mac, Zunaira, and all Salesforce volunteers for all you do! We look forward to seeing you soon!

Please sign up for volunteer shifts here: https://www.shfb.org/give-help/volunteer/