“When you have the means to help out it’s nice to give back a little bit,” says Greg Kapus, Poverello’s subject in this month’s Volunteer In Profile (VIP).
The clients are so happy to get any kind of help. I’ve had clients grab me and thank me and give me a hug. People come in wheelchairs and walkers and I can take their bags to the car. They’re genuinely grateful, and it feels great to know that you’re helping them out
“I think the biggest thing I’ve gained from volunteering at Poverello is the education. For instance, we have one client who has had several surgeries for cancer, he doesn’t really have a stomach. He comes in, and he knows me by name. We can put specific things aside for him in the morning, because we know there’s only a couple things that he can eat.”
About six and a half years ago Greg’s wife Niki was transferred to South Florida for her job and couple moved from the suburbs of Chicago.
Greg married Niki on September 7th of this year. However, they have been together ten and a half years. “…a short 3860 days. Everyone got a good laugh that we dated for ten and a half years before we finally got married,” quips Greg. It is the first marriage for both of the newlyweds. The couple’s biggest passion is their dogs. “We don’t have kids, we have English Bulldogs.”
“I was hurt at work,” Greg explains, “I tore my bicep tendon, that’s how I ended up here, through The State of Florida’s ReemployAbility program. The program finds you a place in a nonprofit to work.”
Poverello is not Greg
At Poverello, Greg receives the product when it arrives. Not only the purchased product, but personal donations as well. Greg checks both. “If it’s a donation, we check the dates are still good for consumption. With the purchases, we check the quality. With the perishables, as an example, if they sent bananas, bananas should be a little under ripe, and sometimes they’re not. We just make sure that what they shipped is what we ordered.”
Greg sees the biggest challenge facing Poverello is the effort to expand the footprint of services offer at Poverello, finding ways to help more people, and at the same time maintaining the quality of the products offered. For instance, Greg notes, “if a client uses public transportation, we can provide them some items, but some of the proteins like the fish and the chicken, (the good high-quality proteins), we want them to have those too. That’s why it’s on the menu for them. But if they are taking a bus across town, perishable foods might spoil. When we do pop ups in remote locations like Jupiter, we take freezers with us. Then, if you live ten minutes away from the pop up and can store food in a proper environment that will keep it from spoiling, the client will be able to access perishables. It is just about finding ways to help more people.”
“Wherever you turn, you can find someone who needs you. Even if it is a little thing, do something for which there is no pay but the privilege of doing it. Remember, you don’t live in the world all of your own.” – Albert Schweitzer
Article written by Charles Johnson, Poverello Volunteer