The Rutherford Report—United Way Volunteer Finds Work Rewarding

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“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

—Winston Churchill
United Way Volunteer Finds Work Rewarding

Last year, Crystal Johnson was thinking about volunteering in her community when fate struck.

“I’d always thought about volunteering but just never took the initiative to do it,” the 26-year-old Rancho Cucamonga resident said.

Then, one day, Johnson found a flyer advertising a financial awareness class hosted by Inland Empire United Way at her apartment complex. She looked the organization up online and discovered a cornucopia of local volunteer opportunities on the organization’s HandsOn Inland Empire webpage. She found one that fit her goal to work with kids, and as a bonus, it was also close to home.

“They just have a huge database of places to volunteer,” she said. “It was exactly what I was looking for.”

Johnson opted to volunteer at the United Way’s Kid Pack program, which partners with local schools, businesses and community groups to provide homeless and very low-income school children with nutritious food every weekend.

“I was instantly excited to do that because it was helping children out in the local community,” she said. “It’s a very rewarding feeling to just know that I am contributing to helping 1,500 kids.”

Johnson said the organization’s staff made her feel at home when she showed up for her first day in October. They took her on a tour of the facility and explained she would be checking in other volunteers and instructing them on how to fill bags with donated food.

Johnson is also charged with checking the filled bags and making sure the volunteers didn’t miss any items on their checklists. Once the bags are filled, they are sent to local schools so teachers can place them in students’ backpacks.

The volunteer experience opened Johnson’s eyes to the importance of volunteerism. It’s also made her think about incorporating fundraising for community organizations and causes into her plans to launch a career in the entertainment industry.

“It’s really given me a new insight,” she said.

For more information about the Hands On Inland Empire visit
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