Food bank honors work of two special volunteers

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John Pacheco, 88, and Laney Kneeland, 8, were both recently honored as volunteers for North Valley Food Bank. (Courtesy photo)

Laney Kneeland, 8, and John Pacheco, 88, both have a passion for volunteering at North Valley Food Bank.

Kneeland has been visiting the food bank for about two years and Pacheco for 18 years. Both were honored during the food bank’s annual appreciation party to celebrate its volunteers.

Kristie Lukes, the food bank’s Warehouse and Volunteer Manager, says that North Valley Food Bank’s volunteer force is arguably one of the most dynamic in town, but Kneeland and Pacheco are extra special.

“We wanted to highlight our youngest volunteer, 8-year-old Laney Kneeland and our most seasoned volunteer, John Pacheco who recently celebrated his 88th birthday,” Lukes said. “They are a wonderful reminder that you are never too old or too young to change the world.”

Kneeland said she enjoys putting together the food boxes and helping with the story time program that takes place on Thursday at the food bank. She likes to play with the children that come to the food bank and help them pick out free books.

She says she wishes that other people her age knew how important the food bank is.

“So many kids take it for granted that when they open their fridge, it will be full of food,” Kneeland said. “But for a lot of kids that isn’t true. I think it is important to help each other, no matter how old you are you can help make things better.”

Pacheco also has a message for others about the food bank.

“It’s a nice place to come to and the volunteers are wonderful,” he says.

Kneeland says her mom and dad take her and her brother to a lot places to volunteer.

“Working at the food bank is my favorite, so my mom brings me once a week,” she said.

Pacheco says he started volunteering at the Food Bank because he likes helping people and it gets him out of the house.

“I really enjoy the community involvement, especially with the other volunteers,” he says.

More than 70 volunteers each week help run the food bank. They do a variety of jobs including picking up food from stores, Super 1, Safeway and Costco; accepting donations and stocking donations; preparing over 150 bags and boxes for weekly clients, helping during distribution and so much more.

North Valley Food Bank offers volunteer orientation the first Wednesday of each month at noon and 6 p.m. For more information on volunteering with North Valley Food Bank, visit, www.northvalleyfoodbank.org.

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