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Volunteer Spotlight: Craig Dowdy from the Pearl St. Cupboard & Café

Name: Craig Dowdy
Town of residence: Framingham
Which UWTC program(s) have you volunteered for?
 - Pearl Street Cupboard
 - Pearl Street Café
 - Feed-A-Family
How long have you been volunteering here?
4 months
Do you volunteer regularly or occasionally?
Regularly, I have to take vacation time to do days so that is limited. I work with Vicki at nights often or the weekends in the Café kitchen.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I signed up for Feed-A-Family to sponsor a couple of families. As I explored the website I found a need for help at the food pantry. They were quite busy and I have allocated quite a few vacation days to help them. Vicki who runs the Café was a friend from years past and I ran into her at the pantry. I have been pitching in as often as possible to help in the Café at night and on weekends.
How did you decide to volunteer with us?
I am a member to Connect Church and part of a small group. We decided to set some goals for ourself in 2021. 2020 was so tough for a lot of people and I thought I needed to provide service to my neighbors. I have lived in Framingham for about 26 years. I have done a lot of youth coaching and helped with other local events. I am very happy that I am able to donate my time to a cause that is really helping my neighbors. The need is especially high after 2020 and COVID.
What do you do when you volunteer?
I work at the Food Pantry packaging up produce, filling shelves and filling shopping cart for customers. It’s a very good feeling when I wheel a cart out to a waiting customer. Lot of big smiles and gratitude as I hand it off. I usually send them off with a big smile myself.
How does volunteering make you feel?
It’s very fulfilling. I know someone is watching and helping me with my good deeds. Blessed to have the ability to help.
Why do you think it's important for people to volunteer?
Many hands make light work. Every little bit helps and there is a lot of need, especially now. I am blessed for all that I have. We all need to stop and think about our blessings and share the feeling with good works to our neighbors.
If you work, can you tell us where and what you do?
I work for Hood Distribution. I am the Regional Business Development Specialist for the Northeast US. I work with our Sales Staff, Building Contractors and Architects. I specialize in Everlast Advanced Composite Siding, Fortress Railing Products & Absolute Engineered Cedar products.
Tell us a story of a time when you knew your volunteering made a difference.
The hundreds of smiles assure me I am making a difference.
What's your best advice for someone interested in volunteering?
Just do it. It’s easy to find a reason not to help, but even a small donation of time can help. The rewards you get for helping are wonderful.
Do you have any other comments you would like to add?
The members of the team I work with are very welcoming and helpful. You feel a part of the team very quickly.