Volunteer Spotlight: Blanca Zelaya

Blanca Zelaya has been volunteering with SFC for five years. Since we moved into our building two years ago, she has been an active addition as a Kitchen Assistant Volunteer. Read on to learn more about what inspires Blanca to volunteer--

How did you first hear about SFC?

I first heard about SFC via a local radio message over 6 years ago. The person on the radio was talking about SFC’s The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® program and I was so intrigued that I wanted to learn more.

What made you want to become involved in SFC?

After hearing the radio program, I got on the internet and looked up The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre®, I read more about the mission and values of SFC and instantly wanted to get involved.

How have you spent your time as a volunteer?

Although, I remain flexible to the varying degree of opportunities for volunteering with SFC, my head, hand, and heart remain food centered in The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre®. The wonderfully, well-equipped, on site, commercial kitchen space with outdoor herb garden, really does make for a "Happy Kitchen!"

Any favorite volunteer moments?

Every moment I get to volunteer is pretty exciting because each experience has its own gifts in the amazing people, nice venues, and incredible food. I so appreciate the wealth of wisdom and vibrant local food I get to be around when I volunteer.

Has volunteering with SFC influenced or impacted you at all? If so, how?

Yes, I've been impacted by SFC as a volunteer on so many levels. More recent and personal, I had a traumatic accidental fall which temporarily disabled my speech. After being released by employers for being unable to perform "excellent verbal communication skills," I was a bit anxious I would lose the upcoming opportunities to volunteer with SFC. When I got approval to serve from the Program Director, I was moved to tears. The support from staff and volunteers was so phenomenal that I will cherish SFC for life! It is pretty spectacular that after over 5 years of volunteering, I still get to Grow, Share, and Prepare with SFC.

Any advice for others thinking about getting involved?

If the seed is planted, cultivate for impact and consider making an investment in time, talent, and/or treasure for this Central Texas non-profit gem. The Sustainable Food Center is relevant, vital, and value-added for empowering our diverse and growing population. The SFC is also sincerely and genuinely engaged with the local food system and has opportunities that could use your unique and beautiful knowledge, skills, and abilities.