The Tuesday night volunteers


The gentleman who trained me when I started was living under a
bridge,

says longtime volunteer Dorothy Sturla.

He found work and was helping others who were homeless to find
lodging. We made lunches with whatever we could get
– too often it was sardines.
“The gentleman who trained me when I started was living under a bridge,” says longtime volunteer Dorothy Sturla. “He found work and was helping others who were homeless to find lodging. We made lunches with whatever we could get – too often it was sardines. When I couldn’t find a can with a key one day, the gentleman waiting told me not to worry. ‘Just rub it back and forth on the rough sidewalk, and it will wear through.’ “

Dorothy is one of three faithful volunteers who work the food room at St. Joseph’s Family Center every Tuesday getting food ready to give to those in our community who most need a helping hand. “I believe ‘what goes around comes around,’ ” she explains. “The young people – whether working for school credit or community service credit – have been a joy and an education. Many who come to the window need a friendly face and a little interest more than they need the food. St. Joseph’s tries to provide it.”

Jane Marqueling, co-volunteer on the Tuesday crew, moved to Gilroy with her husband when they retired in 1987 and came to St. Joseph’s because “we needed something to do that we would feel good about.” Having volunteered for more than 15 years now, Jane says, “I have enjoyed working with the people who come and help during the summer and for community service. I have learned a lot about another world other than my own.”

The Tuesday crew works hard but also finds a lot of joy in working with each other.

“We work a lot harder now than we did because there are more people in need now,” Jane explains. “I may get home tired but never sorry that I was able to help for that small period of time.”

Vicky Martin first thought of volunteering after she read an article about it in the Dispatch, but it was her son’s assignment to do a community service project that finally brought Vicky Martin to St. Joseph’s a year and a half ago. She says, “I was immediately impressed with how the other volunteers approached everyone with such love and care. They truly take an interest in everyone who comes to the door for food.

“As Dorothy once told me, ‘Volunteering at St. Joseph’s is a little like brushing your teeth each morning: If you miss you may be the only one who knows it, but the day just isn’t right.’

“I knew right then, if they can do it, I can do it,” Vicky says. “The decision to volunteer was one of the best decisions I ever made. I know St. Joseph’s blesses many people but none more than me. When I hear the gratitude in a mother’s voice or see a child smile at the sight of a basket of food – something that most of us take for granted – I am convinced that we are making a real difference in the quality of life for many in the south county.”

“Many wonderful people have touched my life and this is a chance to give back,” Dorothy says. “If I say I get more than I give, people will think I go home with arm loads of groceries. What I take home is not tangible but very real.”

To find out more about how you can volunteer call (408) 842-6662.

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