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September 8, 2015

Mother & Daughter Volunteer to Honor Late Family Member

Fleur and Carol Bresler find that volunteering is a meaningful way to spend quality time with each other while making a lasting impact on the lives of others.

Their time at Food & Friends is a reminder of how illness touches us all. And, while some volunteers come to Food & Friends without having a direct connection to the mission, Fleur and Carol were drawn to Food & Friends for deeply personal reasons. Fleur’s son and Carol’s brother, Bill, was a Food & Friends volunteer who became a client in the late 1990s. Ultimately, Bill lost his battle to AIDS in 2001.

“We have firsthand experience with Food & Friends because of our son Bill. At the end, they were supplying him with meals,” says Fleur. “During the time, there was a degree of comfort in knowing he was getting nutritional food.”

What started out as a gesture to help Fleur and Carol’s family during a difficult time, has become a longstanding tradition for these two.

“Volunteering makes me feel connected to the community and connected to my brother who is no longer with us,” says Carol.

In 2001, Carol started volunteering on the capital campaign to support the construction of our currently facility. She then joined our Board of Directors in 2001. Both Carol and Fleur took on a regular kitchen shift in 2011.

“I have a long history of volunteering - it is something my generation was taught to do,” says Fleur. “After my husband passed away, we decided to volunteer as a family on Christmas Day to allow others to have that day off. We’ve been volunteering together since then.”

Fleur and Carol regularly volunteer in the kitchen helping to pack meals, chop food and assist with anything the kitchen staff needs. “We don’t ever stand around waiting for another task,” says Fleur. “There is always work to do and there is always a clear appreciation shown by the Food & Friends staff.”

Carol enjoys the camaraderie of volunteering with her mom and feels like she is making a difference.

“There are those who have it worse off than me,” says Carol. “I feel like I am helping to improve people’s lives.”

Both Breslers believe Food & Friends is unique in its approach to caring for those in our community facing life-challenging illnesses as well as their caretakers and family members. “There are still very sick people in our community and it impacts the entire family. There is always more work to do,” says Fleur.

Every Food & Friends volunteer has his/her own story. Fleur and Carol, like the many other volunteers who assist us, may have come to Food & Friends for a specific reason. But they stay because of the happiness they experience being a valued member of the Food & Friends family.

“I feel a degree of satisfaction from volunteering,” says Fleur. “In some small way, I did something to help others. I feel productive and when you are close to 90 years old, that is not easy.”