Volunteer Spotlight: Bonnie Allen

By Emily Hansen, Community Food Programs Coordinator

On the fourth Thursday of every month, Bonnie Allen picks up food from the Del Mar Elementary food distribution and delivers it to neighbors who are unable to attend. Bonnie is so dedicated to helping others, not even a hip replacement surgery could stop her from picking up food. Nowadays, she stops at the distribution after attending physical therapy for her surgery. After seeing Bonnie at the distribution a few times, I found out that her involvement with the SLO Food Bank started many years ago.

Bonnie has lived in San Luis Obispo county for 13 years. She was part of the group that started the first food distribution at the Cayucos Gift n’ Thrift over 10 years ago. On the first day, Bonnie said they served around 30 people. With each distribution, their numbers grew. They eventually moved to a larger venue at the Cayucos Community Church, where the distribution is currently held today. At the distribution, Bonnie would help participants sign-in for food and answer their questions about the program. She would also gather easy recipes that used food items from the distribution, and pass them out to those interested. She did that for eight years until health issues led her to slow down.

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Bonnie Allen picking up food at the Del Mar Elementary food distribution in August 2019.

Wanting to stay involved with the program and her community, Bonnie started picking up food for those that couldn’t make it to the distributions. “It’s a small portion of my day and it helps me feel connected to the community… getting food from the SLO Food Bank site allows them to spend money they would otherwise use on food and put towards rent or other expenses. Many folks are struggling and the food really helps.”

Bonnie would like to encourage everyone in the community to get involved with helping the SLO Food Bank. She says it could be something as simple as donating to food drives, volunteering at a food distribution, or picking up food for a friend or family member. Bonnie believes people not only eat better, but live better, when they feel like they are part of a community – when they feel support from those around them.

Thank you Bonnie, for all you do for the community and the SLO Food Bank!