3 Retirees Become Lifelong Friend Through Volunteering At OK Food Bank

Thursday, September 13th 2018, 7:08 pm
By: News 9, Amanda Taylor

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Regional Food Bank and it is inside Hope's Kitchen, where three retires found more than a way to give back.

At least two times a week, Bill, Dave and Johnny get together.

"It feels good to have friends our own age," said Dave Ridner, a volunteer at Hope's Kitchen.

But until the three started wearing aprons and hair nets here at the food bank, they never knew each other.

"Just started looking around for something to do," said Ridner.

The three retirees found a way to pass the time while fueling a passion for giving back.

"I just like helping people," said Johnny Powell, Hope's Kitchen volunteer. "I like to pay it forward because people always helped me when I was young so it's just my way of paying it forward."

And in the process of cranking out meals for the Food for Kid's Program, they also developed a close friendship.

"We enjoy each other," said Ridner.

"They love to make jokes at each other's expense," said Randee Muse, Hope's Kitchen coordinator.

"We like to give each other a hard time for sure," said Powell. "In order to do that we just mention politics to Bill and that's a conversation in itself."

But joking aside, they don't skip a beat.

"They're such hard workers it helps that they get along really well and enjoy working with each other," said Muse.

Along with other volunteers inside Hope's Kitchen, the three prepare and pack more than 18-hundred meals per day for kids to eat after school.

"It just gives me a feeling of accomplishment to come in and do something," said Ridner.

"People need to volunteer," said Bill Dodson, Hope's Kitchen volunteer. "There is a great need and you gain so much more than you are giving, when you do that."

Last year, hope's kitchen prepared more than 450,000 meals. This year they started a pilot program to also feed seniors.

It now costs just $100 to provide a kid a backpack for a whole year during the weekends and holidays. There's even a matching campaign going on, so your donation can provide two kids a backpack for a year.

News 9 has a booth set up at the fairgrounds where we'll be collecting money during the fair. Or you can text FFK to 501501 for a $10.

For more information on the Food for Kids Program, click here: https://www.regionalfoodbank.org/programs/food-for-kids