Gerry Syrba marks 27 years of volunteering at the food bank

Gerry voluntering

This year marks Gerry’s 27th year fighting hunger at Feeding America West Michigan! As one of our most longstanding volunteers, Gerry has given countless hours of his time to help nourish our neighbors at risk of hunger.


Every Thursday, Gerry arrives at the food bank around 8:30 in the morning to volunteer in the reclamation center with his friends.

Volunteers handle a wide range of projects in the reclamation center, from bagging bulk produce or cereal into family-sized portions to repacking Pop-Tarts and packing nonperishable food boxes — the project Gerry most often takes on.

“I love coming here. We look forward to it. My friends, they’ve been coming quite a few years. All of us are single. We’ve lost husbands and wives. This is our social gathering.”

Gerry working on food box line in 2015 with fellow volunteers

An article in the Grand Rapids Press spotlighting the food bank — then known as Second Harvest Gleaners — is what initially drew him to volunteer.

“After I retired, I wanted something to do. I thought ‘that sounds good’ so I came for an interview and they put me to work right away.”

Since that first experience, he’s rarely missed his weekly volunteer shift. When asked about his experience, he spoke highly of the reclamation staff and the organization at large. He hopes to stick around for a while!

“I really believe in this. I really do,” he said.

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