Inspiring People: Harry Chapin Food Bank volunteer

Reporter: Lindsey Sablan Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Tom Gemmer, volunteer with the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Credit: WINK News

While WINK News has raised over $400,000 for the Harry Chapin Food Bank to turn into 1 million meals, it still need volunteers. One man already spends seven hours a week inspiring others to give back in whatever ways they can.

Every Friday, you can find Tom Gemmer outside the Boys and Girls Club in Collier County, one of around 15 volunteers smiling through the heat, quickly and efficiently shuffling families through the busy food pantry line.

“There’s an older couple that’s here every week and they pick up for a whole group in their neighborhood,” Gemmer said.

The need is great this year, but Gemmer’s been doing this for years qfter seeing the benefits of the Harry Chapin Food Bank firsthand. He was a guidance counselor in the Collier County School District, often in underserved communities.

“It’s just so clear in the school that if you provide their basic needs—food, shelter, clothing—they do better in school,” Gemmer said. “A long time ago, I sort of recognized that we need to meet people’s basic needs as the first way to help people.”

Gemmer is one of around 7,000 who volunteered from 2019 to 2020.
You can work in the warehouse or out in the distribution lines.
To find out more about how to volunteer in Harry Chapin’s warehouse or distribution lines, visit the food bank’s website.

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