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Volunteer Spotlight–Lourdes “Tia” Gomez

Volunteering is not just about the privileged helping the needy. Many of the men and women who generously give their time to the Food Bank sometimes need some help getting by themselves. And this should not be surprising—after all, many people who have received help from their community want to pay it back by helping others.

Lourdes "Tia" Gomez
Lourdes “Tia” Gomez

Lourdes Gomez is one of those generous souls. She has been helping to sort and pack food in Second Harvest’s sort room up to five times per week, for three years. The bags of produce that Lourdes packs go out to our Food For Children sites across the county, helping children and families acquire enough nutritious food to stay productive and healthy. She also brings in homemade foods like mole, ceviche, and sopes to feed the other volunteers, who affectionately call her “Tia.”

And though you don’t need experience to volunteer at the Food Bank, Lourdes brings a wealth of experience to our sort operations—12 years of work at a local packing company! But even more important is Lourdes’ sincere desire to help people in need, which comes—in part—from knowing herself what it’s like to have an empty fridge.

“I also am in need, but I know there are people that need [food] more than me.”

And when Lourdes brings home fresh fruits and vegetables, she shares them with her housebound neighbor, who is unable to work or to travel to Second Harvest’s distributions.

Lourdes says helping others through Second Harvest is like therapy for her. It lifts her spirits to work with all the staff and volunteers.

“I also am in need, but I know there are people that need [food] more than me. It feels good knowing that even though I’m struggling, I can help my community.”