by Shawn Nowlin
Friday, September 20, marked the Ninth Annual Elected Officials Volunteer Day.
The purpose of the yearly occasion is to invite elected officials and guests to engage in a hands-on volunteer effort to get a better understanding of how the food bank works and how vital Feeding America Southwest Virginia (FASWVA) is to the community. It also gives officials a chance to tour the facility and ask questions about FASWVA programs.
This year’s participants included: Anita Price, Roanoke City Council Member; Sam Rasoul, Virginia General Assembly member; Jeff Irvine, Clifton Forge Mayor and Pam Marshall, Clifton Forge Vice Mayor; Darlene Burcham, Clifton Forge Town Manager; and staff representatives from the offices of Senator Mark Warner, Senator Tim Kaine, and Representatives Morgan Griffith and Ben Cline.
Also present was Allison McGee, Corporate Affairs Manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic and Christian Long, Associate Communications Manager for Kroger Mid-Atlantic Corporate Affairs. Kroger is FASWVA’s presenting sponsor of all Hunger Action Month related activities.
Amanda Allen remembers the first time she participated in Elected Officials Volunteer Day. As Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Feeding America Southwest Virginia, she looks forward to the occasion each year.
“As one can imagine, elected officials have hectic schedules. So, not only do we want to get invitations out as far in advance as we can, but we also want to make sure we provide a rewarding, thought-provoking and fun experience for them when they join us to volunteer. If all the elected officials and guests enjoy themselves and learn something that they didn’t know, like how the food bank specifically fights hunger in Southwest Virginia, I consider the day a success.”
Delegate Sam Rasoul is a regular participant of Elected Officials Volunteer Day. The same can be said for Anita Price, Jeff Irvine and Allison McGee. Much of what happens on Elected Officials Volunteer Day, working together towards a common goal, possessing a selfless mentality and having an open-mind, directly correlates to Councilmember Price’s personal life.
“I look forward to this day every single year. There are many ways to give back to the community, and this is one of them, said Price. I plan on being back next year and many more years after that.”
Participation on all sides of the political aisle is critical to the overall mission of Elected Officials Volunteer Day.
“I’m glad we were able to welcome this great group of elected officials and guests this year, and I’m always impressed to see politicians with differing views volunteering side by side to help feed the hungry,” Allen said. “That tradition of setting aside differences and working together to fight a problem that sees no political affiliation has continued, and it’s always great to be a part of.”