Volunteer Meet and Greet: Maria Zuniga, Food Bank Pantry Volunteer

Born and raised in Harlingen, TX, Maria made her way to Austin almost 24 years ago and has since been a very active member of the community. As a dedicated parishioner of St. John Neumann Catholic Church, Maria learned of the mission of Saint Louise House and began volunteering in late 2012. Her role as a Food Bank Pantry Volunteer is very important to Saint Louise House as she helps keep our food pantries organized and easily accessible to all residents. Maria has also served as an advocate for the organization and has inspired the support of many new friends! When asked what keeps her coming back, Maria says “I want to continue supporting Saint Louise House and its work. I feel welcomed and they make volunteering easy.”
Read more from our volunteer Q&A with Maria below!

How long have you been volunteering for Saint Louise House? What year did you start volunteering?
I have volunteered for two years, since September 2012.

How did you learn about Saint Louise House and what prompted you to get involved?
I have known about SLH and its mission for several years through the Daughters of Charity and Bishop John McCarthy. Two years ago, Saint John Neumann Catholic Church became a partner with SLH and encouraged members to volunteer with the organization. Sr. JT Dwyer, D.C. also encouraged me to volunteer.

In what ways are you involved as a volunteer with Saint Louise House?
I volunteer by keeping the food pantry organized. Other volunteers pick up food from the Capital Area Food Bank and deliver it to both locations on a regular basis. I come by a few hours later to sort and organize the items in the food pantry, refrigerator and freezer. I also check items for expiration dates.

What keeps you coming back to volunteer?
I want to continue supporting SLH and its work. I feel welcomed and they make volunteering easy. I have enjoyed meeting the staff, other volunteers and board members.

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience?
Since volunteering, I have learned so much more about SLH and all that it does to support the families. The more I learn about their programs and their positive impact, the more impressed I am with the organization.

What have you learned or how have you been personally affected from your experience with Saint Louise House?
I am grateful to be able to volunteer at SLH. It is an honor.

Do you have any advice for individuals considering volunteering with Saint Louise House?
Please make the call. SLH has many opportunities for individuals who want to volunteer. The staff is flexible and mindful of everyone’s busy lives.

Hobbies/spare time activities:
My husband, Richard, and I have been married for nineteen years. I love spending time with my family and enjoy traveling.