Each year ,SaddleBrooke Community Outreach (SBCO) hosts a food drive to benefit the Tri-Community Food Bank (TCFB) based in Mammoth. TCFB serves 900 to 1,000 people living in Mammoth, San Manuel and Oracle, including hungry children, their families and seniors in need. During the Food Drive, volunteers in SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch gather donations of money and packaged food which is then sorted and delivered to TCFB. During the pandemic, only monetary donations could be accepted.
Andrea and Dan Stephens and Lori Ward serve as co-chairs for the Food Drive in SaddleBrooke. Robert Wample and Betty Ryan lead the event at SaddleBrooke Ranch.
Andrea and Dan Stephens have lived in SaddleBrooke for the past 16-years, having moved from their home state of Michigan. Their introduction to volunteering for SBCO was as Food Drive Unit Captains about ten years ago. Andrea then volunteered as a receptionist at the SBCO office. Andrea and Dan knew Joan and Rich Roberts and when they wanted to retire as Food Drive chairs, the Stephens volunteered to lead the event.
Andrea notes, “Working on the Food Drive has definitely been the most gratifying work we have done for SBCO. It’s wonderful to know we are helping to put food on the table for so many people. We were overjoyed earlier this year when, during the pandemic, the communities of SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch donated $226,000 to the cause. Since we were unable to collect food, we had no idea what response we would receive. The generosity was overwhelming”
Lori Ward and her husband, Bob, moved to SaddleBrooke 11-years ago from southern New Hampshire. Today they own homes in SaddleBrooke and Massachusetts. She began her volunteering work with SBCO helping children select clothing items at Kids’ Closet where she still serves as a substitute when needed. Approximately eight years ago, the Wards signed up to be Unity Captains for the Food Drive. They did this work for three or four years, one year serving as Captains for two units. Now, Lori co-chairs the event in SaddleBrooke, helping to coordinate the Unit Captains. She particularly enjoys working directly with others in the community, helping them to understand the need for a Food Drive and their role in making it a success.
Lori’s community service work is part of a life-long pattern, starting with her work as a Peace Corp volunteer. After working for many years as a nurse, she recently volunteered to help with the COVID-19 vaccination drive in SaddleBrooke.
Andrea and Lori both say that volunteering allows them to make a difference by helping those less fortunate. It also gives them a sense of purpose. SBCO provides many volunteer opportunities to SaddleBrooke and SaddleBrooke Ranch residents. For more information, please visit https://community-outreach.org/Volunteers/.