JoAnn and Lita have to be recognized together as our dynamic volunteer duo this month. Their cooperation, dedication and care for their “Bread Day” at Arleta Elementary School has made their pantry one of our most successful in steadiness and scope. When “Bread Day” couldn’t be held at school this pasty summer they picked up and moved to nearby Brentwood Park so that children in the SUN after-school program from Arleta could have continued access to the pantry. They dedicated their Friday afternoons to set up a farmers market style pantry where the children and their parents could shop for free for farm fresh produce that Urban Gleaners receives all summer. They set a high bar for what our Summer Free Farmers Market program can achieve. They let the children shop and make their own choices to bring food home that they can feel proud to share with their families. They have also helped pioneer a data collection system with us to help our organization track how many families and children we feed. Tracking is more difficult than it sounds when the customers are a crowd of excited children. In addition to being dedicated volunteers they are also each mothers of two daughters who also often provide support at our Arleta Elementary pantry. We would like to recognize and thank them for their dedication to Urban Gleaners and the children and families who attend pantry at Arleta Elementary.

JoAnn (on the left) is our Pantry Coordinator and has been involved in the pantry since it’s inception two years ago. She is also extremely active in volunteering her time in many other endeavors at Arleta Elementary and is a well-known organizer at the school. She has lived up and down the west coast, but settled in Portland over 15 years ago.

Lita (on the right) is JoAnn’s loyal parent volunteer and moved here with her husband and two young daughers only one year ago from the East Coast. She’s wasted no time getting involved and has quickly become an irreplaceable partner to JoAnn.

Thank you JoAnn and Lita!