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“I like to make people feel welcome.”

This is Mr. Amtrak wearing a Vetrans hat and blue shirt voluteering at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Richard Rolark, 73, is a volunteer at the food pantry at 6th Grace Presbyterian Church in Chicago’s Douglas neighborhood.

A member of the church for 60 years, and a fixture at the food pantry for nearly two decades, Richard strikes up conversations with everyone he meets and insists . . .

“We have more in common than our differences.”

As he serves, he is determined to ease any fear or intimidation his neighbors might feel about visiting a food pantry.

“I like to make people feel welcome, cheer them up as they come in,” he says.

Richard also volunteers on delivery day, helping to unload groceries from the Food Depository truck. “I can’t help as much as I used to,” he admits. “I’m not as strong.”

Thankfully, Richard’s true strength is building relationships.

“He’s so well known in Bronzeville,” says Pamela Jones, coordinator of the 6th Grace Presbyterian Church food pantry. “Richard makes everyone comfortable. We all love him. Some people are embarrassed to come to a food pantry. We do everything we can to ease that.”

Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Food Depository’s work, making it possible to provide food for our neighbors facing hunger. Check out some of our volunteer opportunities and join us.