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Corporate volunteering to build a stronger community


October 30, 2023

The St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry is filled with some wonderful people: retired couples, college students, parents with afternoons to spare. Another group of valuable volunteers are groups! Whether corporate teams, church groups, or clubs, if you have time to spare, your help will be greatly appreciated. Lisa is a longtime volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. She shares how she got involved, what she likes about volunteering and how her workplace supports us as well.

1. How did you first become involved with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Madison?

In 2016, I joined AprilAire. Within the first week, my manager encouraged me to join a team of employees volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. The great experience I had helping people shop the pantry and getting to know my coworkers was the first of what became many evenings volunteering over the years.

2. How long have you been volunteering?

I’ve been volunteering since 2016. I volunteered at the food pantry during the pre-COVID years when people shopped at the pantry and now as people drive through to pick up food.

3. What do you do as a volunteer?

I have helped carry boxes of cold items as well as bags of bread, fruits, and vegetables to cars but my favorite job has been directing traffic into the pantry. When we are loading food into cars we don’t usually get to interact with people driving through, but when directing traffic you get a smile as people are moving into the final stretch of the pick-up line and often a wave when they have their food and are heading home.

4. Are there any special days that stand out to you as a pantry volunteer?

In terms of group volunteering I’m told Thursdays are generally the busiest day of the week and time for the pantry. It isn’t unusual to have a line of cars going down the street. Before holidays the line can even wrap back around as people wait to pick up food.

5. What do you do when you’re not volunteering?

I am a marketer and have my dream job working for AprilAire in downtown Madison. I was first attracted to working at Aprilaire for two reasons. First, because I feel really good about what we do. Our mission is to make homes healthy. We offer families all the components of a Healthy Air System to improve the air they breathe in their homes. Second, because one of the company’s values is being a “good neighbor.” Making a difference in our community is engrained in the culture and is genuinely supported at every level of the organization.

6. Can you tell me about AprilAire’s involvement with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Madison and group volunteering?

AprilAire and our parent company, Research Product Corporation, have been long-term supporters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul – Madison. We provide two food pantry volunteers on Thursdays from 4:00- 6:00 pm, and periodically hold events for employees to donate personal care items for the food pantry or bedding, blankets, and other items to St. Vinny’s Thrift Stores. We also sponsor the annual Care Café fundraising event. In the past we donated backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies for families coming through the food pantry and this fall we are looking into a couple group volunteer events at Lacy Garden to help with the fall harvest and preparing the garden for next spring.

Join the volunteer team! Part-time, flexible positions are available on weekday mornings and afternoons – soon, Saturday mornings too! Visit /join-us/?selected_tab=volunteer-tab or contact Zoe Lavender, Volunteer Coordinator, at or (608) 442-7200 x71 to help.

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