NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Volunteering for more than a decade, Dale Dudley continues to show up each week with a serving heart and helping hands.
“Everything from scrubbing. Plating. I try to do everything because it’s fun,” described Dale Dudley, Second Harvest Volunteer. “We can wash the same bowl five times in a day and it doesn’t bother us because it’s helping someone. It’s feeding someone and that’s what Second Harvest is about.”
You’ll find him working mostly in the kitchen, preparing meals and washing dishes.
“It gives back. That’s the big thing. You see the little ones and you just think, we’ve done something today to feed someone,” said Dudley.
It takes an army to do what Second Harvest does. Their army though is made up of enlisted volunteers.
“Oh my gosh volunteers are so incredibly important. We could what we do without them,” shared Natalie A. Jayroe, President and CEO.
With only a handful of full-time staff, Second Harvest relies on the volunteer’s commitment to the community to make their missions possible.
“It’s plain and simple. They add at least a third, if not a half of our workforce in terms of their efforts. There are hundreds of thousands of them across Louisiana. We are so grateful,” said Jayroe.
The volunteers could be school children, college kids, corporate groups, or just a simple man who is not truly ready to retire from serving his country.
“I’ve been around the world. I’ve seen it all. I want to help America now,” Dudley told us.
Dudley is dedicated to Second Harvest but back in the day, he spent time serving in the military, as a marine.
“I served 21 years in the Marine Corps. From 1967 to 1988,” Dudley explained. “I worked for another 20 years then, I retired and I wanted to stay in the community and help. I found the Second Harvest and the Blood Center. And I fill my week up with doing things to help. “
One of Dudley’s main reasons for volunteering at Second Harvest is in memory of his son, who died far too young after a tough battle with cancer.
“My son was 14 when passed. Every child I see, I can look up at the walls, when they aren’t doing the reconstruction, and they have the posters up on the walls. Within those pictures, you’ll find a child that just gives you the strength to get up and keep going,” said Dudley.