Volunteer Spotlight: Joyce McLung, 18 years and going strong at the Tri-Community Food Bank

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Joyce McLung is not a person to step into the spotlight and insisted that other volunteers be photographed too. From left is McClung, Roberta Coffee (5 years as volunteer), Elaine Ramsey (5 years as volunteer). (Brittney Smith photo)

By Brittney Smith

Special to the Miner

Joyce McClung has seen big changes with the Tri-Community Food Bank during her 18 years of service and says that volunteering has always been a part of her life.

Joyce, 65 and recently retired, grew up in southern Oregon and moved to Arizona in the 1970s. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree at Oregon State University. Looking for an adventure, she then joined a volunteer organization called Vista Volunteers and moved to Casa Grande in their job training program. After that, she attended the University of Arizona and earned her Master’s Degree in early childhood special education in 1986. Joyce then moved to San Manuel to teach and is now retired from teaching.

Joyce has been a part of the food bank for 18 years. A friend, who was the chairperson of the food bank at the time, introduced Joyce to volunteering and she started in the mid 1990s. Joyce has an interest in the food bank because she believes it’s helping to meet a big need and basic necessity.

Joyce gives 10 hours of her time volunteering per week as the treasurer and secretary where she can be found organizing records, reporting, and purchasing food items at the Mammoth location. Joyce is the lead person on her shifts and other volunteers exchange leading roles when she or the chairperson is absent. Her duties also consist of moving food and packing boxes. Volunteers organize, sort clothing, and process transactions with the congruent thrift store, which helps pay the utilities of the building.

Joyce’s favorite things about volunteering are working with others and helping the community. She appreciates the energy of the other volunteers and the friendships she’s built with them.

“It also gives the volunteers something. We become friends, you know,” said Joyce.

Joyce believes volunteering is always needed and feels she has learned a great deal as a volunteer.

“I think it’s taught me compassion for our community and how many people are in great need,” said Joyce.

During her 18 years, Joyce has seen improvements with the food bank. After multiple relocations, it has now settled into a much bigger building which Joyce believes has enabled them to grow thanks to donors, supporters, and the city of Mammoth. She said the previous locations were a challenge to work with, as one location had a leaky roof which sometimes led to food damage.

The Tri-Community Food Bank officially became a formal nonprofit organization in 2001. It has been volunteer run since its informal beginning in the early 1990s. The food bank currently has 25 volunteers and during the month it services around 370 families, or about 1100 people.

To get involved at the Tri-Community Food Bank, call 520-487-2010 or visit the food bank at 108 Redwood Dr. in Mammoth, AZ.

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