Folks at Vegfest

Spirit of service and community thrive at PCC

Sound Consumer | May 2006

by Catherine Hay

(May 2006) — I wanted to determine whether or not the founding principles were still thriving at PCC or simply a part of the company’s history. The answer is clear: the spirit of service is very much alive and well. Moreover, the path of self-discovery can take some very unexpected directions and, even more surprising, changing the world isn’t always a grandiose act.

It can be as simple as sharing one granola bar at a time. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “No [wo]man can sincerely try to help another without helping him[her]self.” I love when my experience aligns with those much wiser who have gone before me.

Through the encouragement of close friends and family, I started looking at what it means to be of service. I discovered that volunteering comes from the Latin root “voluntas,” meaning “choice.” There was no doubt in my mind that the time to make new choices was at hand, and what better arena to exercise choices around service than through the volunteer program at PCC?

Although I have been a member since the late 1980s, I never considered active participation. I knew, however, that the roots of this organization were based on a solid core of volunteerism, and I needed to experience it for myself. In an attempt to capture some of the impressions of my volunteer experiences, I made journal entries to document the spirit of service in my community and, more important, within myself.

PCC Kid Picks: When I arrived at The Children’s Museum in Seattle, the room was buzzing as preparation for approximately 500 kids and their families was in high gear. The purpose of Kid Picks taste-testing is to allow kids to vote on a sampling of potential “kid-friendly” food choices available in all PCC stores.

I like the idea of reinforcing that kids’ opinions can make a difference. I left the event feeling so energized yet humbled since many of the school-age kids could recite the ingredients and nutritional values better than I could. What a great concept — to have fun while reinforcing healthy food choices!

Food Packaging Work Party: This event emphasized the inclusive nature of the volunteer program — both families and singles worked together for a few evening hours to package bulk food. The food is purchased by member donations through PCC’s Cash for the Hungry program (100 percent of all donations go directly to the participating food banks).

It was a profound opportunity to slow down and get to know my fellow volunteers. There was an unspoken collaboration by the end of the evening — perhaps like a barn raising for a neighbor during an earlier era. Although this experience took much less of my time, it gave me a tremendous feeling of connection to my community.

Vegfest: The annual Vegfest wrapped up today, with PCC as a primary sponsor throughout the weekend event. Once again, I worked at the Kid Picks taste-testing table with new and expanded samples for kids (and the parents who tried to sneak a taste).

I continued to be delighted by the candor and humor of children. Greeted by familiar PCC staff and volunteers from other events, I felt completely at home. I realize that I receive as much from these events as I strive to contribute.

To learn more about volunteer opportunities at PCC, contact Kim Smith at 206-547-1222, ext. 173, or

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