Each month, a volunteer at SFBFS is featured for their dedication of time and talent. This month’s volunteer spotlight is:
Melanie Freer - December 2013
A former student at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ (SFBFS) Parent Education program, Melanie Freer is giving back to the organization which helped her find stability just two short years ago.
Expecting parents faced with credit card and student loan debt, Melanie and her husband found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet week after week. While pregnant, Melanie developed pre-eclampsia and could no longer work. Unable to qualify for many different government assistance programs due to her husband’s income, Melanie began searching for solutions.
As luck would have it, a few of Melanie’s friends who were nursing students at California State University Sacramento (CSUS) knew of SFBFS’ Parent Education program from a recent clinical rotation and encouraged her to look into the service.
Visiting SFBFS, Melanie discovered that unlike many other family support services, SFBFS did not exclude any individuals or families based on income level. From there, Melanie began attending classes, shopping with points in the Parent Education Baby Boutique (which she helped name) and even invited another expecting couple to attend classes.
Now a nursing student herself and no longer using the service, Melanie began volunteering as an intern in SFBFS’ Food and Parent Education programs, helping to develop key classes detailing the benefits of balanced nutrition, managing blood pressure and using cloth diapers.
“I wasn’t proud at first to come to SFBFS for services,” Melanie shared, “but we needed help. It feels good to be in a position now where I can give back and it’s neat because I can relate with a lot of the clients because I’ve been there myself.”
“I had the pleasure of meeting Melanie in 2007,” said Lorena Carranza, Parent Education Program Manager at SFBFS’ Oak Park facility. “I remember her as an amazing, loving mother who was always happy and eager to help other clients who were attending classes there. This year I was so surprised to see her name on the list of new Parent Education interns. Melanie is always working hard. She is a perfectionist and loves to help our community with compassion and lots of smiles!”
Enjoying her time working with the community and having the chance to see all of the different sides of healthcare, Melanie hopes to pursue higher education and eventually earn a Master’s Degree or Clinical Nursing Specialist Degree.
“It’s so nice to be able to come back and say ‘Look at this beautiful building’ and see how holistic SFBFS has made their programs in terms of people’s needs. You need to learn how to use a computer, you need food and you need be able to learn English to find a job.” Melanie said. “I just want to say ‘Thank you’ to SFBFS, not just for what they’ve done for me, but what they do for everybody else.”
If you are interested in volunteering your time to help someone in need in our community, click here for more information.
Click on a link below to read archived Volunteer Spotlights: