Volunteer Spotlight: Diane and Lauren

Every Friday morning, 30 to 40 volunteers gather at our Denver office to pick up their delivery routes. Almost all of the clients who receive Friday deliveries live within 5 miles of our facility…almost. We also serve the Montbello and Green Valley Ranch areas on Fridays– closer to Denver International Airport than Project Angel Heart. Lucky for us, we have Diane and Lauren– two wonderful volunteers who don’t mind the extra miles. Just about every week they happily deliver to clients in one or both of those neighborhoods!

Q: How long have you been volunteering with Project Angel Heart?
Diane has been delivering meals for 18 years, beginning in the days when Project Angel Heart was in a church basement. Lauren has been joining Diane for the past three years.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved?
Delivering for Project Angel Heart is the best kind of volunteer experience because you can see the immediate impact of your efforts. We recently delivered food to a young man who told us how grateful he is for the food and how it is especially helpful at the end of the month.

Q: You volunteer as meal delivery drivers. What’s your favorite aspect of that role?
We love interacting with the people on our route. Without exception, they are kind, strong, delightful people.

Delivery driver duo Diane & Lauren getting ready to pack up the car on a Friday morning

Q: Any interesting anecdotes, or something other volunteers & supporters might be surprised to learn about your volunteer role?
One of our delivery stops is to the home of a lovely woman who has taken it upon herself to teach us a new word in Spanish each week. She does not speak English, so she shows us the object as she names it and we repeat several times and hope that there will not be a pop quiz the next week!

We also deliver to a home with the most amazing basil plant we have ever seen. The resident could not explain how he got the plant to grow so well, but he says that the basil is excellent in tea with honey.

Q: Do you have any favorite Project Angel Heart memories?
Our favorite memories are simply the warm welcomes we receive from the people on our route. We love being able to deliver to the same people over a long period of time as we get to know them and they become comfortable with us. One of our deliveries is to a woman who suffers from dementia. She has gotten to recognize us and sees us as old friends and will always invite us in for tea, which we politely decline citing the need to deliver the rest of the food. She responds with a warm thank you.

Q: What’s your favorite food? 
Diane’s favorite food is lasagna, and Lauren has yet to meet a calorie she doesn’t like. We sometimes get a little hungry reading the container labels on the food we deliver. Everything looks delicious.

Matt Nigro is Project Angel Heart’s distribution coordinator. Previously, Matt spent three years working at Food Bank of the Rockies, where he served hundreds of partner agencies- including Project Angel Heart. Originally from Aurora, Matt is a Colorado native, but mostly grew up in Massachusetts before making his way back in 2012. He studied Communications and History at UMass Amherst and, in 2015, had the opportunity to live and work on several organic farms across Italy, where he fell in love with the sustainable lifestyles. In his free time Matt enjoys painting, reading, hiking, rooting for the Broncos and Avs, and volunteering at the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, CO.