Volunteer Appreciation is in the air!

Preble Street has top-tier volunteers, and this Volunteer Appreciation Week, we cannot thank them enough for their time, dedication, and love!  

In the last year, over 1,000 individuals have volunteered with Preble Street, making a difference in the lives and hearts of staff and clients. We could not do the work we do without them! These individuals help prepare thousands of meals each week, sort and organize in-kind donations, facilitate community nights at Housing First sites and Teen Services, lead trauma-informed yoga sessions for human trafficking survivors, and provide haircuts to clients. 

On April 14, we were able to have our first in-person Volunteer Celebration since 2019, and it was worth the wait! Highlights included:

  • Delectably delicious snacks lovingly prepared by Preble Street Chefs Emily and Meade as well as one of our wonderful volunteers, Loan.  
  • The debut of new volunteer swag 
  • The unveiling of renderings for the Food Security Hub 
  • An informative talk on food insecurity in Maine and the future of the Food Security Hub by Preble Street Food Programs Director Natalie Varrallo 
  • Remarks from Executive Director Mark Swann about the incredible past service of Leon Gorman, former Preble Street Volunteer and namesake of the Preble Street Volunteer of the Year award 

But the biggest highlight, of course, was the presentation of the Leon Gorman Volunteer of the Year (VOY) Award to the one and only Donna Wampole! Along with our admiration and appreciation, she received a beautiful cutting board made and engraved by 2013 VOY winner Bob Harradon!

Donna has been instrumental to the Preble Street mission as a delivery volunteer, a volunteer at the Florence House kitchen, and a weekly volunteer at the Food Security Hub. She’s everywhere! Not only does Donna regularly serve breakfast at Florence House single-handed, she even helped develop a training curriculum for Florence House breakfast volunteers, making it possible for new folks to get started quickly and easily. When she’s not at Preble Street, Donna teaches in the Social Work program at USM, and has sometimes even run into her students as they conduct fieldwork at Florence House.   

“Not only has Donna been a long-time staple when it comes to Florence House breakfast and deliveries, she's also been volunteering in almost every other part of Food Programs when available. She often brings in baked goods for staff and other volunteers. I think she'd be an incredible candidate for volunteer of the year.”

“Donna really stands out to me as an outstanding volunteer. She has volunteered in the kitchen all year and even provided meditation training at the Florence House retreat. She has provided MSW-level supervision for Florence House interns in the past, which is not a requirement of her job. She just did it as a dedicated member of the community supporting Florence House.”

Donna was one of six nominees for the VOY award, and you can read about all of the nominees and their incredible contributions to our work here 

THANK YOU to each and every one of the exceptional people that volunteer their time with us! Happy Volunteer Appreciation Week!