Volunteer Opportunities in Radford: Daily Bread Spotlight

The Daily Bread is a private, non-profit organization that has been feeding the needy of Radford since 1982. The goal of Daily Bread is to help struggling families who need a helping hand to get back on their feet. Donna Fern has been the Director of the Daily Bread since 2013, but has been involved with the organization since 2012 as a “Meals on Wheels” driver. Her job is to run the non-profit by managing personnel, responding quickly to donators and volunteers, and many other administrative duties. She said that running the Daily Bread was like, “running a small business”. In the interview with Mrs. Fern, I asked her many questions about the Daily Bread:

Brittany North (B.N.)— “Where does the Daily Bread get their resources from?”

Donna Fern (D.F.)— “We are blessed with many wonderful donators. We rent our facility from the Lion’s Club, which charges us a nominal fee to use the space. Virginia Tech donates a bunch of food to us and so does WalMart. The Daily Bread is a part of Feeding America organization, so we get help from them too”.

B.N.— “Has Radford University ever given aid to the Daily Bread?”

D.F.— “They have in the past. To my knowledge, the food on RU campus now comes from a private company, so they thought that there were too many liabilities. A lot of the people who come to the Daily Bread for meals live right around the area of campus and some are even students. So, it is surprising that they do not currently give any aid to us”.

B.N.— “Agreed. Especially if Radford students are using your facilities! What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your job?”

D.F.— “The most rewarding part of my job is seeing all the devoted     volunteers give their time to others. It’s amazing to witness the human            connection. Most of the volunteers do not get paid, except for some of the      cooks, who only get a small amount for their efforts. I am truly impressed with the all of the volunteers involved with Daily Bread”.

B.N.— “My experience at the Daily Bread as a volunteer has definitely been positive a rewarding. Are there any difficulties running a non-profit, private    organization like the Daily Bread?”

D.F.— “Well, like I said before, we rent our facility from the Lion’s Club. The   building is outdated and has many problems and we do not have the opportunity to fix any of the issues because we do not own the building. Also, at the beginning of every year I know that we will need about 500,000 dollars to run the place, but I do not know exactly where we are going to get those funds since we run on donations. So that can be a bit nerve wracking”.

I thanked Donne Fern for her time and concluded the interview. There are many RU students who volunteer at Daily Bread, and if you are interested you can contact them Monday through Friday at this number: (540) 639-0290 or by emailing director@radfordfairlawndailybread.com. Hopefully in the future Radford University will also give aid to Daily Bread since students use their facilities.
I personally have volunteered in the dining room on East Main Street and was greeted with smiling, welcoming faces. It felt great to help people in my own community and work with such friendly people. You may even get a free meal at the end of your shift!

Published by Radford University’s The Tartan on Sept. 12, 2015

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