Please join me in congratulating our August 2019 Volunteer of the Month, David Stanford! David has been volunteering at Inspiration Cafe since 2017 and has already volunteered 50 hours this year! Read more about David below.

How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?

Two friends had suggested it as an organization that I might be interested in because of it’s help for local Chicagoans.

What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you? What is the most challenging?

I love being in the kitchen making food for folks. It’s a skill I like to use, but on my own can only use to cook for two folks instead of the many people that we feed at the cafe. The most challenging is getting to the kitchen for breakfast on time. I had screwed my sleep schedule up enough at one point I had to pause signing up to volunteer because I couldn’t get up in time and didn’t want to cause problems for the other folks in the kitchen or those eating breakfast.

Why do you volunteer?

I’ve been lucky to be given so much, and volunteering is a good companion to donating to charity to try to help folks out.

What keeps you coming back to the Cafe?

It’s a great match for my volunteering skills, schedule, joy, and of the folks I’d like to help in Chicago. How could I not keep coming back?

Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.

Breakfast at the cafe tends to be pretty consistent from day to day. That can be nice always knowing what you’re going to get that you like, but it can also be nice to serve the guests new things. But sometimes, our desire to do that in the kitchen doesn’t always match with what the guests want that morning. At one point we had a lot of extra pears from the Food Depository, and I made up a pear compote to switch up our pancakes to serve plain and pear pancakes. It was a little bit of a scramble to get everything ready on time, and the pears were delicious in the pancakes. But it didn’t peak any of the guests fancy, and by the end of service, the only one to order any pear pancakes was me.

What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?

I’ve been cycling more with friends the last few years, going on long rides around town and bike camping, and this year I’m trying out some bike races to see how that goes

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?

I’ve learned how to transfer my home cooking skills into a bigger kitchen, at least for breakfast service. I’ve also reinforced what I knew before — that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering becoming a volunteer with Inspiration Corporation?

The entire staff is very welcoming to volunteers, no matter your experience level. Just speak up about any questions you have and folks will be happy to have your help.


Thank you David for your service to Inspiration Cafe!