Volunteer Spotlight: Wanda and Troy Jones
Wanda and Troy Jones stand side by side in the busy Quality Control room at Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) working quietly and steadily with other volunteers. The rustle of cereal shifting in boxes can be heard as they sort and pack Cheerios, Rice Chex and a variety of other nutritious foods that will be sent to TAFB Partner Agencies serving hungry North Texans. Wanda carefully inspects each food item, and the cardboard banana boxes used to transport them, before she begins packing. Wanda, 69, and her husband Troy, 72, have been volunteering regularly at TAFB since 2013.
“It’s rewarding. It’s very enjoyable,” said Wanda. “You know that you’re doing something to help other people.”
Wanda and Troy are two of the more than 25,000 volunteers who donate their time each year to support TAFB. Every Thursday morning, the couple travels from their home in Everman, TX to TAFB’s Distribution Center to volunteer for the 9 a.m. to noon Quality Control shift. Quality Control volunteers play a vital role by making sure that the food donated to TAFB is the best quality that it can be and that it reaches the hands and tables of hungry children, families and seniors in a timely manner.
“If it’s in the warehouse, it’s not benefiting the people. If it sits there, it gets ruined,” said Troy.
“Others First, Then Me”
In addition to being TAFB volunteers, Wanda and Troy are also volunteers and members of Forest Hill Senior Center, a TAFB Partner Agency. Once a month, with the help of a volunteer from the City of Forest Hill, Wanda and Troy pick up food donations at TAFB and deliver them to the senior center. This volunteer effort helps ensure that seniors in the community have access to nutritious food on a regular basis.
After each Thursday volunteer shift at TAFB, Wanda and Troy head over to the senior center to enjoy a meal with other members. The couple visits the center one or two days a week, and Wanda sometimes helps serve lunch to the members. For them, it’s all about “others first, then me,” said Troy.
Wanda and Troy’s dedication to volunteering at TAFB shows in how they schedule their volunteer shifts. They are both signed up for 3-month blocks of time as volunteers. When the three months are up, they regularly renew their commitment to volunteer for another 3-month schedule.
“They are faithful,” said Linda Smith, TAFB’s director of volunteer services. “They work incredibly well with all of the people in Quality Control.”
Troy said that the staff at TAFB were a tremendous help when he and Wanda first started volunteering. “When we first came, we were like zombies who didn’t know what to do and they took us under their wing and showed us what to do,” said Troy.
Wanda and Troy both have arthritis, but they said that the constant movement involved during their volunteer shifts at TAFB has helped them.
“It helps to keep moving,” said Wanda. “You get your workout,” she laughed.
Wanda and Troy have also participated in other TAFB volunteer opportunities such as helping pass out food during a TAFB Mobile Pantry distribution.
“Their dedication is huge,” said Debby Christian, volunteer coordinator at TAFB. “So much about their world is so much bigger than them. They don’t look inward—they look outward.”
TAFB Quality Control Associate Angel Martin said that Wanda and Troy are very consistent, thorough and dedicated in their volunteer work.
“They are my Thursday reminder,” said Angel. “I know it’s Thursday because they are here,” she said laughing. “They don’t make it look like work. They make it look like it’s a privilege for them to be here. It’s really nice to watch how they work together as a couple.”
Wanda and Troy have five children, 17 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. One of their grandsons has come with them a few times to volunteer at TAFB. Troy said that beyond his family, he would like to see more people he and his wife know come to volunteer at TAFB and share in their experiences.
“We enjoy the people we work with,” said Troy. “There have been a lot of good times and we’ve met a lot of interesting people.”
Troy said that volunteering has been a great way for him and his wife to stay active. “If you just sit down and do nothing, you die,” said Troy. “If volunteering is something you can do to keep you going, do that.”
You can find opportunities to volunteer at TAFB by visiting our Volunteer page.