Happy National Volunteer Week! Let’s celebrate the amazing people who volunteer and make volunteerism possible. Throughout the week, we’ll give fodder for your celebration by sharing easy ways to listen, learn, inspire and act!
Up today: Listen.Pam Koner of Family-to-Family shared this incredible story with us via our website. Enjoy!
In fall 2002, The New York Times ran a series of articles highlighting poverty in the U.S. One article described the town of Pembroke, Illinois as a community so poor that “some still live in crumbling shacks with caked-dirt floors and no running water.” Pam Koner — a mom and entrepreneur from Westchester, New York — read that article and immediately felt compelled to help.
Pam contacted an outreach worker in Pembroke with the simple idea of linking families she knew who had enough food and other basic life necessities with families who were struggling to get by. The outreach worker supplied Pam with the names of 17 of the neediest families in Pembroke. Pam then convinced 17 of her friends and neighbors to join her cause. Each family agreed, and shortly thereafter, began sending monthly boxes of food donations and letters to each of the Pembroke families.
17 families soon grew to 60, and after a flurry of media exposure, 60 families grew to over 900. Thus, Family-to-Family was born — a national hunger and poverty relief organization dedicated to connecting families who have enough to share with impoverished American families who have profoundly less.
Basil helps nonprofits and volunteers engage better with one another by posting impactful tips and sharing stories on VolunteerMatch.org, Engaging Volunteers, GoodCauses Newsletter, and VolunteerMatch’s social media platforms.