Volunteer’s gift of time helps provide food for children and seniors

November 8, 2018 in Volunteer Spotlight

Sibyl James spends her Tuesday evenings packing Weekend Backpacks and Senior Food boxes for local families struggling with hunger.

James, an insurance specialist for American National, began volunteering at The Food Bank three years ago as a way to give back to the community after her three children reached adulthood.

“I volunteered at several places and soon realized that Ozarks Food Harvest was the perfect fit for me.
When our triplets were born 21 years ago, people stepped up and provided diapers, clothing and other things we needed. And now, it’s my turn to pay it forward,” she said.

Since 2015, James has given nearly 300 hours of time to The Food Bank. Over the last few years, she has met new people, built friendships and gained a greater understanding of how poverty affects families in southwest Missouri.

“I have a much better understanding of how much need there is in the community, and I share that with others, encouraging them to volunteer,” she said.

Her perceptions about hunger continue to change as she learns more about the 1 in 5 children and 1 in 7 adults in the Ozarks that aren’t sure where their next meal will come from.

“I used to donate Hamburger Helper or like items for food drives, not realizing that wasn’t as useful as canned tuna or peanut butter. Many work and still struggle to make ends meet and feed their families,” she expressed.

Whether James spends the evening assembling food bags for children who might not get enough food on the weekends or filling boxes for seniors who struggle to pay for both medication and groceries, she knows her gift of time matters.

“It’s a wonderful feeling to know you’re helping someone who may not have enough food,” she said.

Ozarks Food Harvest is so grateful for James’ commitment to fighting hunger. To apply for volunteer opportunities and self-schedule, visit