John Hilliard has volunteered with the York County Food Bank for a decade, hoping to make a difference for families in York County.
"God has blessed us substantially, as a family, and I want to do the best I can to help those in need," Hilliard said.
In that effort, Hilliard serves as the secretary for the food bank board of directors and as the volunteer coordinator for the food bank. He also serves as the global and local reach connector for the Living Word Community Church in York. For him, volunteering to work with other volunteers is the best way to make a lasting impact.
In fact, his bio on the church's website reads "I love being able to not only be part of reaching out to bless others, but also to help others do the same."
Hilliard said the food bank only has a staff of 8 people, but they get hundreds of volunteers every year - volunteers they rely upon.
"I've got skills and talent in organization and leadership, and I use them to help feed those that are food insecure and to give volunteers a positive experience," he said. "If they feel good about what they're doing, they will come back to volunteer again. I make sure they have a job to do and that they enjoy being there."
Hilliard added that the holidays have always been busy for the food bank, but this year is especially busy with inflation jumping as high as it has. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that consumer prices are up 9.1% in one year, the largest increase in 40 years, and it's expected to keep rising. As of the end of June 2022, food prices had increased 10.4%, which was the largest increase since February 1981.
But Hilliard is positive that the York County Food Bank can help those in need.
"If I can give, it enriches me. Giving to the world, sacrificing time to do that, is such a good feeling. That's why we have a lot of repeat volunteers, and that's a good sign that they have had a good experience," Hilliard said. "The best part is loading that box of food into someone's car and seeing the smile on their face, knowing that we have made a difference. It's the best feeling."
If you can't volunteer, Hilliard said that the food bank always needs donations, and cash donations can go much further than individual items because the food bank can buy items in bulk.
How you can help
Help the York County Food Bank by donating to YDR's Christmas Emergency Fund: Each holiday season, the York Daily Record offers readers the opportunity to help our community through the Christmas Emergency Fund. The holidays are a time for food, family and generosity, but it's hard to enjoy the home and hearth if the cupboard is bare. And food insecurity extends well beyond the holidays for many people. That's why the York Daily Record has chosen the York County Food Bank as the beneficiary of this year's fundraising effort. For more than 30 years, the York County Food Bank has espoused the principle that food is a basic human right, distributing millions of healthy meals each year. Last year, the food bank gave out more than 4.4 million pounds of food. You can help increase that by giving generously. Traditions Bank is partnering with us to collect and disburse donations – all free of charge so every penny goes to help local folks. Please consider giving generously. You can donate online at https://yorkfoodbank.org/christmas-emergency-fund-2022/ or checks can be mailed to: YDR Christmas Emergency Fund C/O Traditions Bank, 226 Pauline Drive, York, PA 17402-0136.
This article originally appeared on York Daily Record: YDR Christmas Emergency Fund: Food bank volunteer loves helping others