Our Despensa de la Paz pantry would be nothing without our morning crew. Self-dubbed “The Three Musketeers,” Lonnie, Jimmy, and Brian are at the very core of the Friedens family. Arriving before the sun is even up, this team makes possible so much of what we do every day. From facilitating our deliveries to making sure the pantry runs smoothly, our morning crew is an essential foundation for all of our volunteers at Friedens. When asked about the best part of working with Friedens, all three responded with the same answer: “Everything.”
Jimmy, who’s worked at Despensa for over seven years, has devoted himself to the pantry for the very reason Friedens exists: connection. It’s the people, the companionship, and the joy of our volunteer team that keeps him coming back. With the city almost eight months into the pandemic, a lot has changed — but not the community. “Even with everything going on, people are still in good spirits.” Every Friday morning, you can walk into the packing room and hear the Rolling Stones blasting from the stereo. That’s Jimmy — motivating volunteers to work hard and keep smiling in the process.
Lonnie, a neighbor of Jimmy’s, found his way to Friedens as many in our community do: through a friend. As a volunteer for about three years, Lonnie has become a strong part of the Friedens community. One of his favorite things about the pantry is the openness with which others are greeted: “We accept every donation and every person who comes to us.” Over the last eight months, a lot has changed at the pantry. And although we’ve faced many challenges as a team in the wake of the pandemic, Lonnie sums up our attitude: “We just gotta do it.”
As for Brian, it’s camaraderie that drew him to Friedens. His time with us started as a simple offer to help carry a delivery into the pantry. That small act of kindness has evolved into over seven years of service. Over time Brian has become the self-titled “Meat Man,” and he stations himself in the hallway to make sure everybody is getting what they need. Even though our operations have changed and some jobs, such as meat distribution, are now done differently, the root of Brian’s commitment has not changed: “I love the people I work with.”