As Executive Director of Food Forward, there are a lot cool things I get to do: make up a ridiculous amount of rotten fruit puns, climb trees and taste nearly every varietal of citrus under the sun, all the time while overseeing Southern California’s largest all volunteer harvesting-for-the-hungry corps.

This month brings about a new benefit to the job: introducing you to our Volunteer of the Month program, which has just sprouted from the minds and hearts of FF staff as a way of recognizing some of the INCREDIBLE hearts and minds that allow us to do the juicy work we do.

Each month our staff will choose one volunteer – some old growth, some saplings – who bring a special somethin’ somethin’ to Food Forward. The choice will be based on any number of things – the number of picks they have participated in, the incredible things they have brought to the organization, or simply their fruitanthropic spirit. They will receive a fancy write up the will be spread all over the internet (ok, maybe spread just a little) and a cool piece of FF swag as our way of saying “Thanks” for everything you do.

It’s with delight that for our first Volunteer of the Month we have selected Dawn Coppin. Having attended several dozen harvests across three counties, she has single-handedly been responsible for gleaning tens of thousands of pounds, and has been a dream volunteer from almost our very beginnings. More importantly is the grace and style with which she does this (just check out the pic below) and how she contributes to (and classes up!) the Food Forward culture with her generous ongoing coaching in our development and fundraising. She brings her warmth to our social events, helps out in the field in EVERY way imaginable, and has a can-juice attitude Food Forward is SO lucky to benefit from. Congrats, Dawn, we love having you as a citizen of Fruitland…and as our first Volunteer of the Month!

“I’m absolutely tickled pink to be Food Forward’s first official Volunteer of the Month. FF is such an amazing and effective organization and I volunteer with them for entirely selfish reasons as they nourish my body and spirit.  For the price of a little sweat equity, you too could deepen your connection with the history of Greater Los Angeles, do something practical to reduce our neighbors’ hunger, toss away any need for a gym membership, and expand your network of caring, beautiful people…” -Dawn Coppin