Pamela Predmore, 65, has been an active volunteer at the East Stroudsburg Salvation Army for the last 8 years and she shows no signs of slowing down, not even when she's ill.
"I'll never stop coming here," she says. "I was brought up to give to people. I have a hard time receiving."
Pam came to be one of our most dedicated and caring volunteers, seemingly, by divine appointment. One day, while at home recuperating from a disability, Pam decided she had been on the couch long enough. Shortly after, she ran into longtime friend, Jill Brink, who also happened to work at the East Stroudsburg Salvation Army. The very next day, Pam showed up to volunteer and the rest, as they say, is history.
Pam spends her week days in our food pantry, distributing food, assisting in daily pick ups from local supermarkets, keeping our warehouse organized and most importantly, touching the lives of the clients we serve. "I don't like weekends because I don't come here," she says. "I get up at 4am to do my housework and stuff, just so I can be here bright and early to help out."
"I remember a teacher coming in one day. She was crying and felt ashamed that she needed our help. I sat with her for 45 minutes and explained to her that we were here to help her, that we cared for her and that she wasn't alone," Pam recalls. "After a while, her face was dry and she was actually smiling. She got up and hugged me, called me an angel. It doesn't get any better than that."
Depending on what's happening, Pam volunteers anywhere from 25 - 45 hours per week. We rely heavily on volunteers here at the Salvation Army and are so grateful for Pam's loyalty and her devotion to our mission. "We are a well oiled machine. When one of us is out, we ban together to get done what's needed. It's a lot of work but it pays off with every smile," Pam said.
"Pam is a great asset and a great human being," said Food Pantry Director Jill Brink. "I could not do my job without her." Assistant Food Bank Director Lewann Stewart couldn't agree more. "I'd do anything for Pam. She is a caring person and is very dedicated. Pam could be dying and she'd still be here. We are all close here. We're like a family."
When asked what motivates her to volunteer 5 days a week, she acted as if the answer was so simple. "I've given whatever I have my whole life. If I won the lottery, after taking care of my kids, I would give it all away. Every night when I go home, my heart is so filled because I helped people eat that day. That's the satisfaction I get. What the Salvation Army does is more than any other organization I've ever known. When a call for help comes in, at any time of the day or night, they are there. That's the Salvation Army."
Running the daily operations at our food bank is no easy task. In 2013 alone, we served almost 40,000 people in need and distributed almost 16000 Christmas items. We pick up fresh bread and baked goods every morning from local supermarkets to distribute that day. We receive drop off donations and deliveries daily. We are in dire need of volunteers, especially from September through January.
For more information on our food pantry or to volunteer, please call our Food Pantry/Volunteer Director Jill Brink at 570-421-3050.