Every Thursday like clockwork, Jim and Jan Buechler have a roast beef sandwich at Dick’s Bar and Grill in Osseo and then spend their afternoon volunteering at a food shelf in Maple Grove.
The couple spends four hours stocking shelves and filling orders for those who seek the services of the Community Emergency Assistance Program, or CEAP.
“We have more than our share in life so why not give back?” Jan Buechler said when asked why she volunteers.
“I think we come here because she can’t put up with me in the house,” Jim Buechler joked. “Actually I retired from the grocery business so I like coming here, it’s very familiar to me.”
When an order comes in, the two work together to fill it. With a few small pieces of information, like the size of the family in need, the two set a box on a rolling cart and start filling it up with meat, vegetables and snacks. Each family takes home about three to five days worth of food each month to supplement their groceries.
“It’s not easy work,” Family Service Coordinator Linda Burt says. “They’re lifting and lugging food all over back there.”
The Buechler’s, who have been volunteering since this branch of CEAP opened on Lancaster Avenue in Maple Grove in November 2009, say it’s enjoyable work.
“One day we found out that one of the clients had a grandmother that was turning 75,” Jan Buechler said. “So we included a birthday cake for her to take home to her grandmother and she just chocked up and was extremely grateful.”
While the clients appreciate the help, Burt says CEAP appreciates its volunteers just as much.
“We just can’t thank them enough for all the hard work they do,” she said. “Hard working, loyal volunteers like the Buechler’s are hard to find.”
“We really enjoy being active and giving back,” Jan Buechler said. The two have a long history of volunteering. Jan enjoys working with Habitat for Humanity and Jim spends at least one afternoon a month providing respite care for a local man.
“The work they do here and in the community is important,” Burt said. “They work here like it’s their job and without dedicated volunteers like them we wouldn’t be able to function.”