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How Volunteering Provided a Path for Healing and Inspiration

Wednesday May 8, 2024

As a long-time supporter of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Monica Gill was thrilled when her company presented her with the opportunity to volunteer at the Food Bank. Monica was familiar with the Food Bank from television ads, but her financial support began when she saw an interview with Trevor Sims, a young boy battling cancer who began a city-wide food drive in Baton Rouge in 2013. The company Monica works for often volunteers around Baton Rouge, and in March of 2024, they came to the Food Bank.

“It’s one place I’ve always wanted to go to see what it was about and to try to participate. I was so glad to be able to come here in person, and I was thoroughly impressed with it,” said Monica. “I didn’t know what to expect when I got here. I had heard about it, I had seen interviews on TV, but it wasn’t like I thought it was going to be.”

“It was a whole eye-opening experience to see how everything is done in such an order. I was just impressed with the cleanliness of everything, and how everything has a routine and a process. And the people working with you are very friendly; they don’t care how many times you ask a question.”

The mission of the Food Bank is also personal to Monica, as she has experienced food insecurity in her own life.

In the 80’s, Monica and her family were living in between rental homes and with family members. “I remember a time when my husband and I shared a candy bar for supper one night because that was all we could afford. My 2-year-old son had to eat dry cereal on top of that many times,” recalled Monica. “We did not know of any food banks or places to go to for help back then.”

Monica’s heart for giving back to her community goes even deeper than herself. She volunteers and donates to honor her late son.

“Volunteering means a lot to me. Even more now since my son passed away, and I try to do things in his memory,” says Monica. “I couldn’t help him, so I want to help others who need assistance. I want to help people that are still here and can be helped, because once they are gone, you can’t even try to help them anymore.”

“I feel like I have my son beside me when I’m volunteering, because I’m keeping him in my heart while I’m doing it. I used to be a shy person, and he was not the shy person. He was very outgoing, and I feel him pushing me sometimes to do things for others. I have some of his zest for life in me now.”

The Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank relies on supporters like Monica Gill that give their time and money to end hunger in the Greater Baton Rouge area.

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