NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – “I’m blessed to be here I feel like.”
That’s how Mike Joyner feels about being a volunteer at Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. What moved him to start volunteering?
“I saw on Channel 2 you all had that live broadcast from here – two of them in fact. I had just retired, and I said I think I’ll try that it seems like something great to do, and I had never even thought about that. I came over here and it was… I loved it ever since.”
That was eleven years and thousands of volunteer hours ago. Mike loves his hands-on service at Second Harvest because he understands the need.
“If I get hungry, I just go to the kitchen and get something to eat — a lot of these people cannot do that.”
In fact, Second Harvest is a second home for Mike as he’s here at least three times a week.
“I can be in the freezer one day, I can be in the dry sort one day or be in another department another day so which I really love it’s not usually the same thing all the time.”
His dedication didn’t waiver even through the pandemic. Fewer volunteers came in to help because of COVID restrictions. Seeing how those at Second Harvest worked harder during that time moved him.
“They had these drive-up food lines, and I would see all of them cars going by and I said my goodness they were just, all the people that were working in stocking the cars that really blessed me just to see stuff like that and the food was still getting out, it didn’t stop at all.”
“Mike cares so deeply about people that are struggling with food insecurity. It is touching to see how much he cares for them, wants to be part of the solution to get the food out there, um he has never wavered in his volunteer service. The day after the tornado he was here, during the pandemic he was here, um he’s always here,” said Lisa Wagar, Manager, Volunteer Engagement.
In fact that dedication has not gone unnoticed as mike was honored as volunteer of the year in 2016. And today he’s all about motivating others.
“Since Tennessee is the Volunteer State, I challenge people to come out here and start volunteering now that you can and don’t put it off. You’ll really be blessed by doing it,” said Mike.
And Second Harvest feels blessed to have Mike as a volunteer.
“For Second Harvest Mike is an absolute hero because he is here all the time. He has committed for over a decade he’s been coming two, three sometimes four times a week when we need him. He always steps up. He is willing to do whatever we need, um, whether it’s working in the cooler, working in the freezer, working in our dry sorting areas, taking out trash, stocking the market, it’s incredible how much he wants to help and how much he wants to give,” said Lisa.
As for how much longer he’ll be giving back at Second Harvest. “As long as the Lord lets me.”
So we honor Mike Joyner as our News 2 Gives Back Hometown Hero for the month of May, presented by TriStar Health, for his unwavering dedication and commitment to Second Harvest’s mission to feed the hungry and solve Middle Tennessee hunger issues.
If you would like to help Second Harvest by becoming a volunteer or by making a donation click here.