No one goes hungry
Meet our Volunteer of the Month, Gary Sarcione! Gary is a dedicated Glean Team Leader at the Ventura Saturday Farmers Market. He’s been volunteering several times a month since 2016 and has been a huge help at the market! Read more about Gary and what inspires him to volunteer below.
Gary moved to Ventura County four years ago and quickly got involved with Food Forward and began giving back to his community!
So tell me, how did you get started with Food Forward?
My wife Dina and I had just moved to the Ventura area four years ago. While I looked for a job I needed something to make me feel productive in between searching and job interviews, so I looked around for a volunteer opportunity. I found Food Forward online and it seemed like something I’d enjoy doing while giving back at the same time.
What drew you to Food Forward’s work and mission?
I think how well it was organized and that the food went so quickly from the farmers to those in need. Kind of an instant gratification thing, I guess!
What do you do when you’re not volunteering with Food Forward?
I’ve just recently started a new career in film and electronic media, so I love being in production and practicing photography. I also enjoy spending time with my wife Dina and our cat Bast. Otherwise, I love exploring SoCal on my motorcycle.
Gary enjoys exploring Southern California on his motorcycle.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with Food Forward?
There’s a special feeling I get working the Ventura Farmers Market on a Saturday, like I’m a part of something bigger than myself and I’m just showing up to do my part. It’s very cool. I also like talking with the farmers. They are amazing people and I’m glad I’ve gotten to be around them.
How would you describe the volunteer experience at a farmers market glean?
It’s very team-oriented and easy going. You get to help save food from being wasted and get it in the hands of those in need in an uncomplicated way all while being outdoors and engaging with others. And it’s not a huge commitment so I regularly recommend it to people looking for an easy and fun way to volunteer.
What was your first volunteer day at a market like?
Oh, it was so much more than I expected. I remember it was just myself and the Ventura County Branch Manager Ally leading. I remember how nice she and the vendors were and how good it felt getting involved. Plus I was still very new to the area, so I went home feeling that I had made my first friend in California and for the first time felt a part of the community. It was a good day!
Gary regularly leads produce recovery at the Ventura Saturday Farmers Market.
What have you learned from volunteering?
That I always get back from it more than I put into it. Always.
Is there a particularly powerful volunteering moment you’d like to share?
One memory that sticks out is approaching one of the farm stands and asking if they needed a box that day. It was pretty obvious they didn’t but the farmer grabbed the box from me and just started filling it. As he handed it back to me he said “no one goes hungry.” It was a nice moment but I have to say, the overall generosity of the vendors we work with is incredible and inspiring.
Any words of wisdom you live by?
The secret of getting ahead is getting started.
Gary’s motorcycle outfitted with some Food Forward flair!