Thursday, February 2, 2017

She Loves to Give!

Amanda Combs has volunteered with
Rural Resources since 2010.

Rural Resources Volunteer Profile

Amanda Combs: She Loves to Give!

Now that we've told you a little about ourselves in last week's blog, we're going to highlight some of our volunteers from time to time. Rural Resources operates with a skeleton staff on a small budget comprised mainly of grants. We just couldn't do what we do without volunteers. In today's blog, you'll read about a hard working volunteer in our produce distribution program.

The program is a new partnership with Second Harvest Food Bank, pioneered by our Outreach Coordinator Rhonda Hensley. The partnership aims to overcome the transportation barrier that often prevents those in need of food assistance from accessing resources available in the community.

What Amanda Combs lacks in stature, she makes up for in heart. The first thing people usually notice about this pint-sized, 40-ish-year-old dynamo is her smile. What they usually remember after they part is her hearty hug.

Amanda first began volunteering with Rural Resources in 2010, but the connection goes back further. Rural Resources' Outreach Coordinator Rhonda Hensley met her several years before on the Mobile Farmer's Market route, a community outreach project that brought low-cost, fresh produce to low-income neighborhoods.

“She lived in public housing,” says Hensley. “Her kids were very small then. She would stop me every week. They looked forward to that every week, rain or shine or whatever. I watched her kids grow as we went along.”

As the relationship between Hensley and Combs grew, it became apparent that Combs had a heart for helping people.

“I finally asked her to help us with the parade one year,” says Hensley. “She helped us from morning until night time and she's been helping out ever since then. When we started doing this produce distribution, she was there from day one.”

Combs says she loves volunteering.

“Rural Resources is my family,” she says, adding, “I just think it's important that we keep doing (the food distribution) as long as we can, because it helps. People are happy to get that food. That might be the only thing they get that day.”

Amanda helping a food distribution
recipient bring her food home.

Combs has put in hundreds of hours of volunteer hours at Rural Resources, distributed thousands of pounds of food and often helps the frail and elderly get their food into their homes. She also knows where to find the people who need it.

“She knows where all the homeless people are,” says Hensley. “At the end of the route, if we have any food left over, I've learned to just listen to her and she'll take me places where that food needs to be.”

But food isn't all that Combs gives away.

“She will do anything you ask her to, but what she does best is give out love and hugs,” says Hensley. “Anybody, the homeless, drug addicts, she doesn't care. She just wants to love and feed them.”

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