The Purple Bus of Montereau: Help on the Way


The 2018 Sara J. Waggoner Hunger Awareness Award was presented to the Residents of Montereau as a result of their collective, consistent involvement with the Food Bank. Since 2009, the steady stream of volunteers led by Lloyd Zelewski, and riding their unique purple van, have provided thousands of hours of assistance at the Food Bank doing whatever is needed to help.

In addition, many residents for whom transportation and mobility are an issue, hand-write thank you notes to donors on behalf of the Food Bank. Many residents at Montereau also serve as ambassadors and advocates on hunger issues.

One resident volunteer, Mary Jane Bittick, involved since moving to Montereau said, “I became a professional volunteer after leaving my full-time job. I felt a bond with the Food Bank through previous volunteer work with my church. The Food Bank supports Restore Hope Ministry where I am also a volunteer and have seen how much we gain from their help.”

When accepting the award, Llyod Zelewski acknowledged the significant impact their volunteers made, serving more than 1,271 hours this past year. When asked about his volunteer coordinator position he replied, “I receive satisfaction from introducing previously non-participating residents to helping the Food Bank, and I enjoy organizing groups of Montereau residents as volunteers to accomplish needed work.”

Excerpts of this article first appeared in “Montereau Life.” Printed with permission from Montereau.

Reflections from Montereau Volunteers

“For years, through my church, I was involved in the Pack-a-Sack program, which helped feed school children on weekends. I enjoy my current volunteer involvement playing a small part in eliminating hunger for all.” -Len DiLiberto

“Working at the Food Bank is giving to others that are in need of food. No one wants to have any human being going to bed hungry in this land of plenty. One never knows when you go to work at the Food Bank whether you will weighing apples, or oranges, or carrots—whatever—but you do know that the recipients receiving it will be nourished. Hunger needs to be eliminated. The Food Bank works hard to do its part. We give thanks for the leadership and those who contribute food and make contributions to keep it going. Those of us who participate are recipients, too. We have fun working together. We leave feeling that we have provided needed food for many people.” -Anna Milligan

“Every time I enter the Food Bank, I am amazed and almost overwhelmed to see the quantity of produce, canned goods, and other staples provided to the Food Bank which in turn is being made available for those in need. The next emotion I experience is dismay that there is such a need for this quantity, and the knowledge that so many, many people experience hunger on a daily basis. It is truly gratifying to know that if my husband and I can work a few hours two days a month at the Food Bank, a few more folks might be able to enjoy the satisfaction of giving their family healthy meals more often.” – Pat Brown

“I like volunteering for the Food Bank. I know I have helped put food on the tables of those in need. So little effort, such great reward.” -Diana Hepner

“The first thing I think of about the Food Bank trips is that I enjoy the association with friends we have made here at Montereau. Everyone in the group seems to be on the same page. We are eager to tackle the job we are assigned and get the mission accomplished. Secondly, working for the Food Bank is its own reward. To realize the amount of food that is donated to, and processed by the Food Bank is astounding. Keeping hunger at bay and keeping households well fed is an immeasurable gift to the community. Think how this effort contributes to the health of so many school children in our area. Many thanks go to the major contributors of food for distribution, and all the people who work to make distribution possible.” -Jane Denzinger

“When joining with the other Food Bank volunteers, its east to see how a little physical effort and time helps a lot of people and that in turn is a personal ‘feel good.’” – Carl Martin

“Working at the Food Bank has been a joy from the time we get on the bus, see old and new friends and catch up on their news to coming home and saying good-bye. We have done many kinds of different things from weighing and bagging fruit and vegetables to packing boxes going to schools, etc. The work is not hard and the people we work with are friendly and fun to know. The time flies by and soon we are cleaning up to leave; feeling good about our work and the time spent. The opportunity to help others is important in my life. I do not do as much as I once did, but this has filled and empty spot in my life.” -Pat Morris


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