Updated: Jun 30, 2021
This Month at the Broadmoor Food Pantry, we spoke with two of our volunteers Michael Kohn and Brian "Griper" Nugent. Michael has been volunteering with the food pantry since last fall and Brian has been with us since the onset of the pandemic in March of 2020. They are both part of our regular packing and receiving team, helping to receive food donations when they arrive and assembling monthly grocery boxes for pantry guests.
Learn more about Brian and Michael’s experiences as volunteers at the pantry by reading below, and consider joining us as a regular pantry volunteer! The Broadmoor Food Pantry operates on Mondays from 10 am–12 pm and Wednesdays from 1–3 pm, and we have volunteer opportunities that range from receiving and packing grocery boxes to greeting guests to making home deliveries for those who need it. Sign up at Second Harvest Food Bank Volunteer Portal to join our team! Groups are also welcomed to volunteer together at the Broadmoor Food Pantry, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to inform us that you and your group would like to help out.
Pictured are both of our volunteers at the pantry helping to store a recent pet food donation. Brian Kohn gave the following statement about volunteering at the pantry when he was asked his volunteering experience.
How is your experience volunteering at The Broadmoor Food Pantry?
I have been volunteering since October and it has been great to be able to help people in the neighborhood. There has been a great turn out of volunteers. There have been great donations from organizations like Winn Dixie Foundation, Malcolm Jenkins Foundation and many more as well as individuals. It is great to see people helping out. For me personally, it is rewarding. It helps me feel like I am doing something positive with my time and with my situation. It makes my situation not great for not only myself but for others.
Micheal Nessel answered the following questions and spoke about his experience as a food pantry volunteer.
What do you enjoy about volunteering at The Broadmoor Food Pantry?
It is amazingly gravitating, I have been volunteering with the pantry since the pandemic started last year. It is wonderful being able to help out your fellow citizens. In this city, people have a sense of community and caring for each other that is great. People are very thankful when they come here and I am thankful to be able to help them. It is just a pretty amazing experience and the panty is run so well. Loren, the Food Pantry Coordinator is amazing. This place is organized really well. The food pantry runs like a really tight ship. There is a great vibe at this place and people are happy to be here. That's why they keep coming back to volunteer. All of the Xavier University students have been awesome as volunteers also. We welcome others to come join us!
How is the pet food donation distribution going with The Broadmoor Food Pantry guests? Has there been a demand for this supply?
Yes absolutely, when people see the dog food and the cat food we have available, they light up and are really grateful to have it. If the residents are having a hard time feeding themselves, they are also facing the same struggle with their pets. It is great we can take care of residents and their animals. People are happy to have the pet food donations. As well as the face mask, hand sanitizer, diapers and other things that you would not think of we are able to give at the food pantry. People are really glad to have the additional items we can supply them with.
Do you find there are more people who visit on a certain day between the Monday and Wednesday we are open?
No, The need is pretty consistent. I think that you see a lot of the same people from the neighborhood given the fact that they can come once a month. It is nice that people should know that the donations you bring in as members of the neighborhood overall the community can go directly into a grocery box or be apart of a supplement item for people who get their monthly supply but sometimes might need a little extra so we use a closet in the pantry to store extra bags of donations to tide them over.
How diverse are the residents who utilize the pantry?
All walks of life and spectrums of New Orleans culture utilize the food pantry. We have families visit the pantry with their children. The children sometimes help with translating spanish to English. The children also sometimes help carry the boxes to be helpful. We definitely work to provide the things that families need such as diapers of all sizes, baby food, baby formula, and pet food when requested. We also have unhoused individuals who visit the food pantry.
How do pantry guests react to the Broadmoor Food Pantry Garden?
People love the fresh garden we have located outside of the food pantry. People get really happy about the site of the pantry garden. Having produce such as peppers and greens available to them is appreciated. The produce that is grown here at the garden is primarily for pantry guests but it is also for residents of the neighborhood. If residents were to help out at the garden they would be able to take some produce home as well. On Saturday, April 10th, from 9am - 12pm, The BIA will provide tours of our three gardens and offer activities that residents can take part in at each site. People can sign up at The Broadmoor Garden Celebration & Service Day to join the BIA and your neighbors.
How can other Broadmoor residents get involved in volunteering?
The pantry is bittersweet, it feels good to give back to the community and helps residents but it is bitter because so many residents are in need of assistance. Anything that others can do to help such as donating to Second Harvest Food Bank, go on their website to sign up to volunteer at the pantry. Residents can go on NOLAready.gov there are all sorts of places to volunteer there. I can only speak for myself but if you are sitting at home and don’t know what to do. My experience volunteering has been the key to good mental health.