I’ve been volunteering all my life, and it just seems to me a wonderful way to give something back.
JoAnn was born and raised in Philadelphia. In fact, she bought her grandmother's house 43 years ago and still lives there today. "I've lived within a one square block area of Philadelphia all my life," says JoAnn, "and I love it." JoAnn is now retired from a career in retail, which she first started learning about at her parents' corner store. Over the years, she has honed her people skills to a fine art. Joann has one adult son, one daughter, and five grandchildren. Her dear friend Lawrence, who is retired from a career as a tool and die maker, will join her on the cruise.
Along the way, and especially as her children were growing up, JoAnn volunteered with many school groups. She was a tireless fundraiser who always involved herself with candy fairs, bake sales, raffles, and any creative project that might raise a few dollars for the school. She did the same thing for her local area playground working whenever the call came to get financial support for after-school activities for the kids. She always made sure there was money in the till for trips to the zoo, museum, or ball park. In the past year, JoAnn has turned her attention to PhilAbundance, an organization dedicated to helping the neediest in the greater Philadelphia area get the food, shelter, and other support they need.
Four-days-a-week, JoAnn goes to her local PhilAbundance outlet store where she is primarily responsible for the dairy section. She and the rest of the team get food from a large PhilAbundance warehouse that is donated by companies in the area. They sort it, bag it, weigh it, stock it, and then work with their clientele to make sure they get what they need. Each day they serve about 325 people distributing more than 5000 pounds of food. "This makes a big difference for a lot of people," says JoAnn, "and it strikes me as an efficient way to help people when they need help the most." The store is open four-hours-a-day, four-days-a-week, and JoAnn is there to greet her clients every day. She counsels clients, works through any language barriers, and perhaps most importantly, puts them at ease as they are struggling just to get by.