When we say we can’t do what we do without our dedicated, hard-working volunteers, we couldn’t be more serious. Last year, volunteers donated over 95,000 hours across our distribution centers. That’s the equivalent of more than 3,950 days and $2.7 million in in-kind support — a truly incredible gift of time, energy, and compassion.
We are so grateful to all our volunteers who choose to spend their valuable time furthering our cause of igniting the power of community to end hunger, and each year select individual volunteers and groups to honor for their gift. This year’s volunteer award recipients are:
2022 Betty Van Hook Memorial Award Recipients: Kim and Phil Willett
- Total Hours Volunteered (Each): 1,453+ since February 2017
- Total Unique Shifts (Each): 433+
Kim and Phil Willett quickly realized that one day a week of volunteering at their church’s soup kitchen wasn’t going to be enough for them once Phil retired. Used to staying busy, the married couple soon added a weekly volunteer shift at Food Bank of the Rockies’ Denver Distribution Center, then another. Today, they volunteer almost every weekday: in the distribution center, at the soup kitchen, and at a mobile pantry.
“The more we did, the more we realized how important it is,” said Kim. “If we can do anything to help others, we’re all about it.”
Added Phil: “It gives me shivers sometimes because you see some people who are really in need.”
2022 Rising Volunteer of the Year: Ethan Shepley
- Total Hours Volunteered: 503+ since December 2020
- Total Unique Shifts: 149+
Ethan Shepley was new to Denver when COVID-19 hit. As 2020 progressed, he started noticing long lines of cars regularly forming around the city and found out they were for Food Bank of the Rockies Mobile Pantry distributions. That realization, along with a local news story about the rise in food insecurity, prompted him to start volunteering with the Food Bank. He now spends the majority of his three weekly shifts helping in the kitchen.
“There seems to be the greatest need in the kitchen; those meals have to get out every day regardless of how many volunteers we have. I’ve been very blessed in life, and there’s a tremendous amount of need. If I can do a little bit to alleviate that need, I’m happy to do it.”
2022 Group of the Year: Western Midstream
- Total Hours Volunteered: 400+ since February 2021
- Number of Employees That Have Volunteered: 78
Every couple of months, dozens of Western Midstream employees channel their teamwork and camaraderie into packing boxes of food for their neighbors in need. Splitting into morning and afternoon shifts, they compete to see who can pack the most boxes in one session. Their record to date is an impressive 1,135. Their dedication and enthusiasm are just a couple of the reasons we are recognizing Western Midstream as the 2022 Volunteer Group of the Year.
“We are all blessed: we’ve got work, we’ve got our health, we’ve got jobs. And we know there are a lot of people who are less fortunate than us. Our company’s management encourages us to do this, and why wouldn’t you? It’s easy to do and it’s a really good feeling when you know you’re giving something to somebody,” said Brandon Carter, Western Midstream’s group coordinator.