By Ukee Washington
CHERRY HILL, NJ (CBS) — Every Thursday in Cherry Hill, a team of volunteers heads over to a food pantry. Those volunteers get to practice job skills as well as kindness.
At the Cherry Hill Food Pantry, clients are treated like valued customers.
Client Brian Fitzgerald said, “All in all, these people are saints that run this place.”
“People get to shop for themselves and it’s really a pleasant experience,” said Janet Giordano, executive director of the food pantry.
The service starts at the front door, where Raymond Granrath serves as doorman, “because I like (to) help somebody.”
It extends all the way to the car, where clients get help loading groceries from volunteers.
“Some of them are remarkable,” said Connie Berrios, one of the clients whose groceries were loaded.
The volunteers have developmental delays. They are part of an adult job program through Bancroft, explains their coaching supervisor Matt Roach.
“Every Thursday is their favorite day,” Roach said. “They’re working with the community. They’re speaking to people. They’re learning how to do a specific job.”
“I like helping bring the groceries and bringing the groceries into the car and bringing the cart back,” volunteer Andrew Rushmore said.
“Any little job, you give them a task, they are so dedicated,” Giordano said, “even if you ask them to squash a piece of trash or carry a bag.”
The Bancroft volunteers have become well-known for their kindness and their skills helping just some of the 500 clients who come to the food pantry every month.
“They’re people,” said client Marion Wexler of Cherry Hill. “They’re just like me and you.”
Volunteer Dan Bridges loves it. “It makes me have a good conscience and i can tell my parents and they’re very proud of what i’m doing,” he said.
A few months ago, the food pantry almost lost this team when another job beckoned. But in the end, they were able to stay and keep lifting the load.