Billy Lewandoski of Plantsville, C.T., has been volunteering at Bread for Life for 12 years. From the moment he came to serve, he never looked back. Bread for Life is proud to recognize Billy Lewandoski as the “Volunteer of the Month” for May.

Why did you choose to volunteer at Bread for Life?

When my wife and I moved from Bristol to Southington we became affiliated with The Immaculate Conception Church and we saw in the bulletin that Bread for Life needed volunteers for that particular week. So, I told my wife, “I’m going to give it a shot and see what happens.” She was still working at the time so I went down there and volunteered in the kitchen. It went on for a whole week and from there it just blossomed, I just kept coming back. At the time, there were only a few people receiving food and only a few people that were volunteering. I stuck around for five days a week and did whatever needed to be done. Here I am, 12 years later.

What has been the most rewarding part of the experience?

Meeting the people that are in need, definitely. As Bread for Life grows and more people come into the kitchen needing a meal, we see more and more of a need. That is the most rewarding part, people coming in whether it’s for a meal or comradery, it just keeps growing.

How has volunteering impacted your life?

The friends that I’ve met. People have come and gone from here but I’ve made a lot of good friendships with the people that’ll last a long time.

What do you hope that you can give these people in need?

A smile. A smile and to greet them as a normal person because they’re no different than I am. I’m just here to help them. Even if they need something outside of Bread for Life, if I’m available I will help.

Do you have a favorite story from volunteering here?

There’s one woman who we deliver food to now. She used to volunteer through one of the churches and help five days a week. Today we’re delivering a meal to her. Just to give her a hug and to see her, I think that’s the best part.

What message do you have for people who are considering volunteering?

Stick with it. So many people come once and then they don’t come back. Commit to it, stay with it and see how you can help people.

Click here to visit the Volunteer of the Month page.