For some, volunteering is a part time engagement. For Cindy Bean, volunteering was her way of coping and ended up being her job at Greater Hammond Community Services.
“I’ve been here seven years. I volunteered for five and worked for two,” Bean said. Cindy was always one to work with nonprofits during the course of her life.
“My late husband worked as an umpire and I volunteered for the concession stand and before that I worked with the Girl Scouts of America. You can say it’s in my blood,” Bean said. Cindy found out about Greater Hammond Community Services through an ad in the local paper.
“When my husband died, I wanted to start volunteering again. And then I saw their ad in the paper. It was the best medicine. It got me off the couch and away from the crying,” Bean said. She would go on to foster and develop the organization’s food pantry from the bottom up.
“There wasn’t a walk-through pantry like there is. I started the initiative to make it the way it is now. We can get 20 people an hour through these doors,” Bean said. It’s this drive that would entirely change the way GHCS handled its food pantry. Cindy would spend tireless hours organizing the food.
“I was working in the back organizing food so much that the clients coming in didn’t know who I was or had only seen me in passing,” Bean said.
“She’s been instrumental in developing the program to be more efficient over the last two years,” said Executive Director of GHCS Tim Cottingham.
For the past two years, Cindy has been an employee of the GHCS, running the food pantry and overseeing the workers and volunteers. She doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“I’m going to keep going as long as my body keeps going. As long as I can climb up those stairs, I see myself doing this a long time,” Bean said.