What do you do at the food bank?
I’m a truck driver. I drive depot deliveries [which means dropping off food at centralized locations for agency pickup] and Mobile Pantries for the Upper Peninsula. I’m up there usually two or three nights a week.
How did you end up in your current role?
I’ve always been good with vehicles. My dad had all these tractors when I was a kid and I was always tinkering with them. I got my own tractor when I was 12. It needed some engine work and I put her back together. I was a truck driver for a company and I was working nights. It was good pay but long hours. I saw a food bank truck and went in to apply. At the time they were set on drivers but nine months later I got a call and started almost five years ago.
What is a memory that stands out to you?
At these Mobile Pantries I’ve had seniors come up to me and cry and hug me and say if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t eat today.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I’ve been going to the U.P. for three years. I see the same volunteers and coordinators and they’re just great. They’re my friends. There is a lady who runs a pantry in Kincheloe who has five little daughters and a little boy. Now my wife knows them and we’ve stopped to see them in the U.P. We’ve camped with them and they came over. Her kids have to come to the food pantry when I’m there. They bring me homemade cards! I’ve been bringing them some presents too.
Why do you fight hunger?
I like it here. I help people and meet really good people. I’ve always been a “pull for the underdog” kind of guy. The people at the Mobile Pantries who are regulars, you get to know them. As a driver, you’re meeting really cool people who need a hand.
What do you like doing in your free time?
I work on my own vehicles. I’ve got 10 – 20 old tractors. I’ve got a 1923 steam engine. It has a hole in the boiler and I don’t know how to fix it. I try to do all my own work on the house. I like helping people — I sometimes plow our neighbors’ driveways.
Jerry is driven to fight hunger wherever he goes. You can fight hunger too!