Two Hearts, One Mission

By Published On: February 5th, 2024

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day and the love it symbolizes, we bring you a heartwarming story that beautifully intertwines love and altruism. Meet Joan and Tom, a couple who have not only celebrated 30 years of marriage but have also spent years volunteering side-by-side at Marion Polk Food Share. Join us as we delve into what it takes to reach the milestone of three decades together. 

Joan and Tom found their calling in Retail Recovery, where they sort and organize donated food. These dedicated volunteers serve as the organization’s first line of defense in ensuring that only the best reaches those in need. Any food which is no longer good is sent to hog farmers, guaranteeing that every bit contributes to the well-being of our community. 

What deeply resonates with Joan and Tom is the camaraderie they’ve found at Marion Polk Food Share. “I really admire the people who work here,” Joan says with a warm smile.  

Joan Volunteer Action Area

Tom chimes in, “There is a team atmosphere here”. 

Their dedication and spirited approach earned them the nickname, the ‘A-Team,’ a playful nod to the ’80s television series. Their mission? Ensuring as much food as possible reaches people in need. Volunteers like them work tirelessly towards our shared goal of ending hunger and its root causes. 

When questioned about how volunteering has strengthened their relationship, Tom reflects, “We’ve grown in appreciation for each other through volunteering.” 

Their volunteer journey has also led to lasting friendships. Joan forged a deep connection with a fellow volunteer who started at around the same time. Upon learning of her husband’s passing, their bond evolved into a vital support network, strengthened through shared meals. 

Beyond cultivating new friendships, they’ve also reconnected with people they had lost touch with. These individuals also happened to be regular Food Share volunteers.  

Throughout the winter months, Joan and Tom continue to sort food, bringing nourishment to countless households in need. Their resilience serves as inspiration during the toughest times of the year. 

When asked for advice for couples considering volunteering, “It’s a positive experience and my advice would be just to do it” Tom says, while Joan added, “make sure you keep the lines of communication open and talk about your experiences.” 

As they celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary, their story serves as a reminder that the power of volunteering can strengthen bonds and build a more resilient community. 

Here’s to Joan and Tom—who continue to bring joy and sustenance to countless others through their selfless volunteer efforts. Marion Polk Food Share is grateful for your unwavering commitment.