“Let’s put a bit more slaw on those hot dogs.” “Make sure the water gets cold enough.” “I hope it’s alright that I gave that homeless man a free meal.”
As the Coordinator of the United Way’s monthly Picnics on the Plaza, Jackie Rochford can be heard making sure all is going smoothly and that those who need a meal are fed.
When the United Way decided to begin a Picnic on the Plaza program, little did we realize the work that would be required to feed between 100 and 150 people on the Main Street Plaza (think fountain) in Danville once a month for 8 months of the year. After the first two months, it was obvious help was needed! But without a budget, it was going to have to be a volunteer. We knew it would have to be somebody that was extremely organized, dependable and committed. Jackie rose to the top of the list.
She hardly hesitated when asked to take the project on as the Volunteer Coordinator. Right from the start she was inventorying supplies, finding the best price for all the food items, arranging for food pick-up and distributing promotional flyers. Every aspect of the picnics was planned for; from how many serving spoons were needed to how many bags of ice.
The actual day of the picnics she arrives at the United Way building two hours in advance to load all the supplies, including a tent for shade, into her vehicle, and ensures everything is ready to go by the time the first customer comes at 11:45 a.m. For two hours Jackie makes sure everything goes smoothly. She supervises the 5 to 8 volunteer servers and replaces food trays as they are emptied.
These United Way picnics are an opportunity for the community to enjoy a nice lunch with their friends at a reasonable price ($4.00) in a peaceful atmosphere by the JTI Fountain. Jackie Rochford has made it possible for the united Way to continue to offer this service to the community. Jackie also spends many volunteer hours as a United Way Ambassador, assisting other non-profits when they are in need of volunteers. And while we know Jackie also volunteers many hours for her church and for the GED testing for Danville Public Schools, the United Way is so thankful that she has also found time to volunteer for us.
We are honored to nominate Jackie Rochford for this award.