Patrick Byrne moved to Southington, Conn., from Trenton, N.J. and decided to volunteer at Bread for Life. He says the people who volunteer there have made it a delight for him. Bread for Life is proud to feature Patrick Byrne as the volunteer of the month of September.
How did you come to volunteer at Bread for Life?
I worked for over 34 years in the social service industry. I retired six years ago and moved to Connecticut. One day my wife said to me, ‘I think it’s about time you get out of the house!’ So, I was looking for places to volunteer. I walked into Bread for Life one day and I met this gentleman named Billy. One day a few weeks later he called and here I am. I began by delivering meals. Some of them probably don’t get to see anybody except us when we’re delivering that meal to them. Giving them a quick ‘hi, how are you doing today?’ it’s just really nice, it’s refreshing.
What has been the best part experience you’ve had volunteering here?
In October, it will be one year since I’ve been here. Donna and Missy come into this place every day with bursts of positive energy and enthusiasm. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my career. It’s so rewarding to see that and it’s a pleasure to volunteer here. In the kitchen, I’ve been working with Chef Bob for four months and he takes a personal interest in our customers. They all have little things they need and Bob is there to listen and accommodate them with whatever need they might have. It’s also nice to have people recognize you and call you by name. I call all of our customers by name now and it’s so nice to have that interaction with them each day.
How has volunteering at Bread for Life impacted your own life?
It’s been very positive. The people that volunteer here are outstanding. The staff, the leadership, they’ve become my friends. Since moving to Connecticut, all of my friends were in New Jersey so now they have become my friends. I feel really good when I go home. It’s rewarding.
What would be your advice for someone thinking about volunteering?
Give it a shot. It may not be for you but it may be and you’ll never know unless you give it a shot. I didn’t know if it was going to be for me, I just knew I needed to give back in some way. But it was. It’s a great experience, everybody is there if you need someone, it’s just wonderful.
Click here to visit the Volunteer of the Month page.