FRASER — Most Saturdays, you can find Fraser High School senior Brandon Rowland volunteering in the food pantry of the Fraser-based nonprofit Hope Center in Macomb.
Rowland, 17, and his younger brother, 15, began actively volunteering at the food pantry in April 2012, acting on the suggestion of their grandmother. This past summer, he volunteered at the food pantry on a weekly basis, spending more than 150 volunteer hours at the shelter.
“We volunteered and we enjoyed it, so we’ve been volunteering ever since,” he said. “I can always see how grateful a person is. When I do something like this, it’s for fun. I enjoy doing it because I love to see smiles on people’s faces.”
Rowland also is the president of the Fraser High School chapter of the Family Career and Community Leaders of America club. The FCCLA is a nationally recognized volunteerism organization.
Every year, members of the Fraser High School FCCLA spearhead a community outreach project. Rowland suggested the Hope Center.
“As a group, we thought it would be great to actually come and volunteer,” said club advisor and Fraser teacher Sonja Tomovsca.
On Feb. 25, the FCCLA brought six students to Hope Center to volunteer. Together, the group stocked shelves, ran the checkout, bagged and boxed groceries and loaded cars over a three-hour span.
“It’s just like a regular grocery store,” said Tammy White, Hope Center volunteer coordinator.
Hope Center delivers food purchases food for pennies on the dollar from food banks, primarily through Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan. It also collects food from Forgotten Harvest food bank and private donations from businesses, churches and individuals.
The food is then distributed to its clientele through its pantry. Much like a grocery store, the pantry’s volunteers stock shelves and checkout clientele.
With the volunteer effort, Rowland said he hopes to inspire others.
“Maybe somebody else might do it too,” he said.
The group also presented the Hope Center with a $150 donation check, raised from a candy-gram fundraiser at the school.
“I mean, the whole thing that (Rowland) set up, we haven’t had that before,” White added. “It’s just amazing what Brandon’s done over the last year for us. All the time he’s donated. The effort and everything he’s put in.”
Volunteers should be at least 14 years old. Anyone interested in volunteering at Hope Center can call (586) 294-4673.
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