Bread for Life is proud to name Cheryl Trovato the volunteer of the month. Cheryl joined Bread for Life about four years ago and has led the successful Families Feeding Friends program since its inception.
What brought you to Bread for Life and when did you start?
I worked alongside Missy [Cipriano] at the Southington/Cheshire Community YMCA front desk four years ago. Once Missy left to work at BFL with Donna [Ayer], she reached out to me asking if I would be interested in spearheading a program they wanted to begin to offer to families, called Families Feeding Friends. I was extremely intrigued by Missy’s offer and wanted to learn more about the program’s needs as well as wanting to learn more about BFL as a community organization. At that time – I admit – I didn’t know very much about BFL, but I was quickly astonished by all that they do and by their endless amounts of energy that’s focused on helping others.
How did your involvement at BFL evolve to where it is today?
I believe my involvement evolved and grew as the programs [Families Feeding Friends & Kids Who Care] grew. Over the past year, Covid had forced many lives to change drastically which meant that BFL’s programs were important and in need more than ever. Since both programs help offer BFL’s clients a sense of companionship, it was imperative to continue offering them. However, due to the trying times, this meant we had to reinvent the wheel and offer these programs differently while ensuring the safety of all.
Favorite BFL event and/or memory?
I have to say, even after volunteering and assisting in the development of the Families Feeding Friends & taking part with Kids Who Care programs, that my favorite event was simply volunteering in BFL’s community garden, to help grow vegetables that were used for food preparation in the kitchen at BFL that fed numerous individuals throughout the year. During this event, I not only learned an incredible amount of information on gardening, but I also met some amazing, local community members, which made the day so fun!
What impact has volunteering had on you?
Volunteering has not only made an impact on myself – but more importantly I think – it has made an enormous impact on my daughter. And to me, that’s extremely important for kids (of any age) to learn not to take things for granted and to appreciate what you do have. I’m not talking about the big glamorous items. I’m talking about the simple necessities for survival such as FOOD. Volunteering was indeed an eye opener for me. I had never realized how many individuals and families in our hometown are suffering or in dire need for food. That’s when I decided I am in a position and able to help others, as I should.
Advice to those thinking about volunteering?
I would say to those who are interested in volunteering to simply, Just Do It! Just like Nike’s tagline once read. You will be amazed on how only a few minutes of your time can impact someone else’s life in such a positive manner. By your generosity, selflessness and kindness, you will be improving someone’s way of life. So, go grab those sneakers and go for it – volunteer in the way you know how. You’ll be happy you did!