Volunteer Spotlight: Bobbie Baker

Volunteer Bobbie Baker recently moved back to the Twin Cities after retiring from her job as a food co-op finance manager in Northfield. Here’s how her path led to the Mano a Mano warehouse, and her thoughts on the value of her work.

Bobbie Baker, in the Mano a Mano warehouse

Bobbie Baker, in the Mano a Mano warehouse

How Did You Get Started Volunteering for Mano a Mano?

I attend the Groveland Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, and Mano a Mano’s Operations Manager, Carmen Paredes Dockry, came and spoke to us. Carmen said that they were getting ready to do a shipment of medical supplies to Bolivia. So I came and helped with that.

Then I started coming and helping Ray Wiedmeyer in the warehouse. I go to Goodwill with him and a couple other guys. We sort medical equipment at Goodwill for two and a half or three hours, then we bring it back here. Then on Wednesday morning I help Ray, sorting and packaging stuff back in the warehouse. We were palletizing some boxes this morning.

What Spoke to You When Carmen Described Mano a Mano’s Work?

I’ve been out of the city for a number of years. I was looking for places to volunteer and do something physically active. I spent my whole career sitting at a desk. I was not going to do that again. I grew up on a farm and was used to being around equipment. And once I started here I found some super people to be around. Ray and Karen, Carmen, Segundo are all very welcoming.

What Do You Feel You Get Out of Volunteering?

There’s the physical activity. And I’m doing something where I can see the immediate benefits for people. We’re providing folks in Bolivia with medical equipment they wouldn’t otherwise be able to get their hands on.

But it’s not just helping people in Bolivia. It’s helping the planet, because we’re recycling and reusing stuff that we’ve already used energy to make. I’m an anti-waste person. I hate seeing stuff go into the landfill. To manufacture something and then turn around and recycle it, that doesn’t make sense to me. If it can be reused, that’s better. This all fits together for me.

Special thanks to Tony Schmitz for volunteering to compile these Volunteer Spotlights!

More Mano a Mano Volunteer Spotlights

Below are a few more interviews with Mano a Mano volunteers that are so crucial to everything that we do. Are you interested in getting involved? Please contact us!