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

This month, we chatted with Muriel, who’s been our Finance Administrative Assistant Volunteer since November 2018.

Muriel, our awesome Finance Administrative Assistant Volunteer!

Muriel, tell us about yourself.

Hi! I’m Muriel, I am French and I am 33 years old. I have been living in the Bay Area for the last two years. I love eating and salsa dancing.

How did you first hear about Second Harvest?

The first time I heard about Second Harvest was when I made a food donation using a Second Harvest barrel at a Safeway in Palo Alto.

What inspired you to volunteer at Second Harvest?

In November, I was waiting for my work permit. Since I couldn’t work at the time, I decided to look for volunteering opportunities. I saw an ad on Volunteer Match for my current volunteer role and I applied. It is my first time volunteering even though I have been a long-time donor to nonprofits. In France, I donate to many organizations such as Action Contre La Faim, Medecins du Monde, Croix Rouge, AIDS and Emmaus. Together with my husband, we donate to approximately 10 organizations.

What drew me to Second Harvest was its mission. My family benefited from organizations similar to Second Harvest in France while I was growing up. It was lifesaving for us and I’m really grateful for that. I feel good volunteering here thinking that in the past, volunteers helped my family when we needed it. Now I’m able to do the same for others. I believe that everybody should volunteer, even if they haven’t been in my situation.

What do you do at the food bank?

I work with Tina, Revenue Manager, with administrative tasks. I prepare paperwork for scanning, I organize the finance storage room, I prepare boxes to get ready to distribute to our 3rd party storage facility, and more.

What do you like most about Second Harvest?

The values and the people! It’s a very nice place to work at.

What advice do you have for others looking to volunteer?

Even if you can only volunteer one hour or two every week, you should do it–it does make a difference.

Can you tell us a bit about food assistance in France?

We have many national organizations providing food to those in need. The most famous ones are les Restos du Coeur, an organization which distributes food packages and hot meals, Secours Catholique, a service of the Catholic Church distributing food packages and Secours Populaire, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting poverty and discrimination in public life.

If you are a client of these organizations, you get a package of food each week (you get a lot of food, including fresh produce, pasta, and canned food) and hygienic products (soap, toothpaste). The amount you receive depends on the number of people in your family.

Some of these nonprofits also provide cooking classes, housing help, legal services, clothes and even help families go on a vacation.

Something I noticed in the United States is that you don’t have many people working for nonprofits asking for donations in the street. That is a common practice in France, when people are on their way to taking the metro or a bus.

I also know that some banks, such as Credit Cooperatif, give you the option to give your credit card’s monthly fees to the nonprofit of your choice if you would like to.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I love volunteering with Second Harvest. Even when I’ll start working, I’ll make sure to still volunteer here!