Name: Hiba Vohra
What inspired you to volunteer at Feed More?: As someone who has primarily volunteered in healthcare, I was looking for a different way to engage in my community that could teach me about other social issues facing people in the Richmond area. I thought Feed More was a perfect fit not only because I appreciate its mission, but volunteering in the Community Kitchen also personally challenged me to finally appreciate cooking!
How do you lend a helping hand at Feed More? And how long have you been doing it?: I started out volunteering in food preparation in the Community Kitchen two and a half years ago, then transitioned to the Hunger Hotline where I answer calls and meet with visitors in need of assistance through Feed More’s network of food pantries. In addition to the Hunger Hotline, I also work as a SNAP Outreach volunteer and help food pantry visitors apply for SNAP, Medicaid and other benefits.
What do you love most about volunteering at Feed More?: In my current roles at the Hunger Hotline and SNAP Outreach program, I love the opportunity to interact directly with the people we serve. I hear a lot of interesting stories about people’s struggles with food insecurity that provide a humbling perspective, and I get to make a direct impact in their lives by providing a referral to a food pantry in a location convenient to them which will hopefully make their journey a little easier.
What is your favorite memory at Feed More?: There was one particularly busy Friday afternoon where I was the only volunteer in the Hunger Hotline department. I found myself literally running back and forth between the phones and the lobby as we had more calls and visitors than I could keep up with! Though it was initially very stressful, I realized my presence really mattered in this moment, especially for anyone facing the upcoming weekend without food for themselves or their family. I also reminded myself to focus on the positive fact that people in the Richmond area knew about the resources we offer to even reach out in the first place. Keeping these things in mind, I was able to miraculously make it through the day calmly and ended my shift with a new appreciation of the work we do.
Where is the coolest place you have traveled to and/or want to travel to?: I’ve been fortunate enough to travel many places, and my favorite so far has been London. Not only is there so much to do, but my grandparents live there as well! Also, visiting London has led to more interesting local excursions, including a camping trip to Snowdonia National Park in Wales and getting to experience the beauty of the White Cliffs of Dover in the south of England (see my picture!).
When you’re not volunteering, what is your favorite thing to do in Richmond?: My favorite thing to do is eat at all the Thai restaurants I can find. My next favorite thing is trying to replicate their recipes at home.
Why should people volunteer at Feed More?: I think Feed More is a great place to volunteer because there’s something for everyone, whether you enjoy chopping vegetables, talking with people or like helping out behind the scenes. In whatever capacity you choose to get involved, you can be sure that your work truly makes a difference not just in Richmond, but across Central Virginia. I also feel supporting an organization like Feed More is important because it is not only working towards providing immediate relief for people struggling with food insecurity, but is also involved in helping them facilitate long-term relationships with food pantries that provide nutritious and healthy offerings.