Barbara Friend (Volunteer)

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I’ve learned that I really hate it when I don’t know how to help. The start of the coronavirus pandemic was very difficult because we were all told that the safest thing to do was stay home and do nothing. But I knew there were people who needed help and the Center has provided me with a way to reach out while also staying safe.

As a volunteer, in recent months I’ve almost exclusively been working to pack and deliver groceries to our older community members. This was a Center program that didn’t exist in this same way before we were all sheltering at home. I think it is absolutely incredible what the Senior Services team has been able to do with this program. They are getting much needed care and support to older people when, I think, many other systems they rely on are failing them.

Every time I talk to an older client, whether I’m calling to confirm their delivery or when I drop it off, I appreciate that moment of connection. It makes the LA LGBTQIA+ community feel both bigger and more close-knit at the same time. I also had one client call me back after I dropped off their groceries just to say how appreciative they were, and we chatted for a bit. That was a nice moment.

I have been out of work for a while, and volunteering has given me much-needed structure and a sense of purpose to my weeks. Not only does it give me something to do, but it’s something that I care deeply about that directly helps other people.

I love that the Center offers countless volunteer opportunities. You can help with something you’re already good at, challenge yourself to do something new, help from home, connect with a community you aren’t familiar with. It’s a Choose Your Own Adventure!

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Hometown: Houston, Texas

Year Started Volunteering at Center: 2014

Volunteer Positions: Models of Pride, Senior Services,
Employee Appreciation

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