NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — Marivic Potter has not officially volunteered at the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore in over a year, but her phone is still ringing off the hook with people she met there.
"A lot of my clients that I had with the Foodbank... sorta [followed] me," said Potter. "I [told] them, 'Call me anytime.' So, they utilized it!"
When she joined the Foodbank in 2014, Potter assisted people having challenges filing for benefits and services.
"I take 'no' as... not an answer for me," said Potter. "In fact, it makes me fight harder for that... family."
After she left to join Family and Youth Foundations Counseling Services last year, she recognized there was still a major need in the community.
"People are out here struggling... with just nothing to eat and... go starving," said Potter. "We need to come in as a community, as a village, to help out... to give these people food."
The connections Potter created while serving at the Foodbank keep her connected to the nonprofit, and she says she wouldn't have it any other way.
"My relationship with the community is... more valuable than any program or services that I can provide for them," said Potter. "It's like... almost a glimpse of hope for [people]. Even though they think that they might not get approved or get... the answer they need, it's just that hope knowing that, 'Wow, you actually stopped and took the time to help me out with this.'"
While she no longer has a formal role at the Foodbank, Potter said she doesn't need one to make a difference.
"I was homeless before, so I know how it is to be homeless," said Potter. "I've been turned down, rejected here and there of all benefits. So, I know how it is."
"[The people I help] say, 'Thank you'," said Potter, "and I say, 'Don't thank me. Thank me when you are done. This is an adventure. We're both in it together.'"
The organization for which Potter now officially works, Family and Youth Foundations Counseling Services, provides disadvantaged youth and families with mental health services. To learn more, click here.