Beth Burnes of Milton was recently selected as Interfaith Social Services’ volunteer of the week. Each week over one hundred local volunteers serve at Interfaith’s offices in Quincy. The comprehensive multi-service center provides assistance to families and individuals from the South Shore in need of food, clothing, housing assistance and counseling.
Throughout the 1990’s Beth was actually an employee at Interfaith’s New Directions Counseling Center. Five years ago Interfaith’s food pantry manager reached out to Beth to see if she would be interested in helping out as a volunteer. Since that time Beth has been volunteering at least once a week: assembling food orders for clients, sorting food and making friends.
When asked how she felt about her volunteer experience Beth responded “It definitely awakens you to the people around you who are less fortunate and it makes you realize that with one wrong turn it could be you. It also allows you to meet some amazing people and expand your social circle. There’s really no down side!”
In her free time Beth enjoys Pilates, kite boarding and other active endeavors. She is a mom and has two rescue dogs.
With hundreds of individuals volunteering alongside civic, religious and corporate groups Interfaith Social Services has become one of the South Shore’s most popular centers for volunteerism and community engagement. “Our volunteers are the heart and soul of the organization.” said Interfaith’s volunteer coordinator Paula Daniels. “Without their assistance our programs wouldn’t be able to serve over 25,000 South Shore residents every year.”
Interfaith operates one of the largest food pantries in Greater Boston. Last year volunteers distributed over 750,000 lbs. of food to hungry families.
Interfaith’s volunteers commit to at least one three-hour shift each week, some fulfill multiple time slots. Shifts are available between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Volunteers work in the food pantry, thrift shop, front desk, or Career Closet. Serving in the food pantry includes assembling grocery orders for clients, restocking shelves and sorting food donations. Volunteering at the thrift shop is similar to working in a retail store. Volunteers sort through donations of clothing and household goods. They assist customers, fold clothes and organize merchandise for sale.
“Volunteering is a great way to get to know people in the community,” said Cindy Lee of Braintree who has been volunteering at Interfaith for over 20 years. “You can come in as a group, or by yourself. High school students come in on their breaks and summer vacations. It is a real team spirit here, the volunteers get to know each other and there is always a familiar face.”
Anyone interested in volunteering at Interfaith Social Services is encouraged to contact volunteer coordinator Paula Daniels at 617-773-6203 ext. 28 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.