April is Volunteer Appreciation Month. We want to take this opportunity to thank each and every NAM volunteer for all you do! NAM would not be able to fulfill its mission without our volunteers.
Mark and Paula are two of NAM's most faithful volunteers. Mark began volunteering at the Joanne Watford Nutrition Center (JWNC) in 2005 after he retired, and Paula joined him a few years later. They also volunteer with NAM's Meals on Wheels, Thanksgiving, and Holiday distributions.
So when the pandemic hit, they knew where they needed to be.
"There was just this feeling," Paula said. "We didn't even talk about it, it was just like 'We're going to NAM tomorrow.' It just happened, and it's still happening."
In fact, Mark and Paula have volunteered at the JWNC every day since the pandemic began, working tirelessly to make sure neighbors have food to sustain their families. They have been an essential part of the JWNC team, working alongside the program's two staff members to serve up to 120 families a day.
"It was not something we thought a lot about," Mark said of their decision to continue volunteering during the pandemic. "It was the right thing to do - we had the ability to do it, the time to do it, and we knew we were needed. We're not doing a lot outside of our home but we felt safe at NAM - everybody is gloved and masked up. Days went by, then weeks went by, and now it's been months."
Over the years, volunteering at NAM has become a family affair for Mark and Paula. Three of their 16 grandchildren also volunteer at the JWNC.
"It's the feeling you get when you're helping others who are very grateful," said Mark. "When you can see on their face, or hear in their voice, that they needed help and we were able to provide it, it just makes you feel real good."
Paula added, "We're just grateful we can do it."
And NAM is grateful to Mark and Paula. Their dedication to NAM and the love and support they share are an inspiration to everyone. For those reasons and more, NAM is proud to honor Mark and Paula as our Volunteers of the Year at the Jeans & Jewels Gala on October 9, 2021. Moving forward, every year NAM will honor a volunteer and they will be presented with the Mark and Paula Stoebner Volunteer Appreciation Award.
Thank you, Paula and Mark!
Click here to purchase tickets and/or sponsorships for Jeans & Jewels.