Featured Volunteer: Haley Nuttman

Haley enjoys volunteering at the Blessing

Haley enjoys volunteering at the Blessing

Preparing the food bank for opening on Saturday mornings requires an eye for detail and an organized mind. Haley Nuttman, a sophomore at SOTA and regular volunteer at the Blessing, has both. She spends the few rushed minutes before guests arrive sorting through the produce, tossing the spoiled tomatoes and bruised cucumbers into a bucket to throw away. She helps sort the bread into categories—white, wheat, and everything else—and then heads to the bagging table as the guests start to come through the line. And she loves it.

I had a chance to talk with Haley about her experience volunteering and why she keeps coming back to help.

How long have you been volunteering?

“I’ve been volunteering at the Blessing for a little over two years. Mainly it’s for school, but I first started because I love helping people,” she says with a smile. Her mom, Carol, and her stepdad Derrick, are also regular volunteers. Haley’s planning on using her volunteer hours for her senior project at SOTA.

What’s your main job or position when you help out on Saturdays?

“My primary job is helping people bag their groceries,” she says. Haley also helps prepare the food beforehand, making sure the produce is fresh and helping to bag the baked goods from Panera.

For the past couple of weeks, the Blessing has had a larger amount of food to give away because of food drives over the holidays. How do you think that will bless the families that come this week?

“It helps the families because we can double up the amount we can give them, and they can have more to last the holiday season. That way they can have as much food as they want on Christmas, and still have food leftover for the week.”

Do you think the food bank is making an impact in the community?

“Yeah, it is. We see a lot of new people come in every week. And then we have some that return.”

What’s the best part for you about volunteering?

“The best part is just the emotional reward that you receive. Just having the feeling that you helped somebody, and that you’re getting food to them.”

Helping out at the Blessing on Saturday mornings has become a regular activity for many of our volunteers including Haley, and we are grateful for their donation of time. Together, we are reaching many people in our community. If you are interested in volunteering, see our support page.


Stories of Hope: David

Here's David with his box of cereal.

Here’s David with his box of cereal.

Saturday mornings are always busy at the Blessing, but this last December weekend was especially full—a record of about 71 families were served.

In the midst of volunteers and guests bustling around preparing for opening, David, one of the Blessing’s regulars, sits patiently. He waits with his wife and cousin, and teases one of the volunteers as she walks past to fill the coffee machine. His cheerful smile is seen at the food bank each week, and his upbeat attitude hides the fact that he is struggling to make ends meet for his family of five.

He’s just happy to be here.

When Pastor Matt greets the overflowing room of guests, asking who would be willing to be featured on the Blessing blog, David is the first to raise his hand. He tells everyone who’ll listen how thankful he is for what he receives each week. I had a chance to talk with him about his experience coming to the Blessing and the reason for his contagiously positive attitude.

What are your impressions of the Blessing when you walk in the door each week?

“It’s very family-feeling. We can all talk to each other. This nice lady talks to me sometimes,” he laughs and gestures to Janet Wendland, one of the volunteers. “This lady gets me coffee sometimes. You know, we’re all nice to each other. It’s very kind here.”

What’s the best item you’ve received?

“Well, everything’s a blessing,” David’s wife butts in, giving him a teasing look.
“Well yeah!” he continues, “but cereal, cereal’s expensive…and I didn’t have cereal for years.”

How have you personally been blessed by coming each week?

“I’m able to feed my family, that’s one thing,” he says, “and I get prayer every week, and it seems to get me through the week, especially for my health concerns…everybody that works here and volunteers is very helpful and kind, and kindness is sometimes very important to some people. When people are kind to me, I feel warm.”

Would you recommend the Blessing to a friend in need?

“I already have!” he says. He recommended the food bank to both his sister and his cousin, who was also there.

Guests like David have been blessed by all our volunteers and community partners. He is just one of the many faces with a story that come through the doors each week looking for hope. If you are interested in volunteering or supporting the Blessing, check out our support page for opportunities.

Stadium High School Raises Support

Students at Stadium High School helped us this holiday season for the third time in two years with a school-wide food drive. The annual tradition began in memory of Stadium volunteer football manager and volunteer at The Blessing, Paul Snyder.

Alan Mandigo, the ROTC teacher, and several of the ROTC students helped us load two SUVs full of food and other goods to give away at The Blessing. In total, we received 15 boxes packed full of cans and boxes of food, 12 boxes of hygiene products, and 2 bags of Christmas wreaths.

Thank you, Stadium!