3. Mary Esch

Mary Esch

Mary poses while volunteering at the food bankSince 1981, the hands of countless volunteers have aided Feeding America West Michigan in impacting the lives of many neighbors. Mary, 93, is one in particular who, without a doubt, has earned a spot in our #40years40faces series.

When speaking with Mary, we discovered that she has been volunteering with our organization since it “was just a little cement block place down on Jefferson and Wealthy (in Grand Rapids),” as she recalled it. Mary remembers being there gleaning and sorting food for her neighbors in need — something she’s still doing today.

Mary has been supporting our efforts for so long that there is no record in our database of the beginning of her journey with us. When we asked how long she thinks she has been involved, she estimated over 30 years.

“It’s a good place to be, and it’s good to know that what you’re doing is worthwhile,” she said.

Mary helped lay the foundation that propelled us forward to where we are today, and she continues to be a part of our story.

We asked how long she plans to continue volunteering with us, and she responded frankly “as long as I’m upright.” Mary is truly an inspiration to all of us and we couldn’t be more honored to have her continue to be a part of what we do here at Feeding America West Michigan.

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