We are delighted to highlight Jenny and Eric (and the whole Hillerbrand family) as our September 2016 Volunteers of the Month! This family has been volunteering with Inspiration Corporation for over 7 years, and we’re so happy they’re a part of our team!

Read on to learn more about their volunteering experience:

How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?

The first person in our family to volunteer at Inspiration Cafe was our son Noah, when he was 15 years old. HHillerbrands_September 2016 rotated for fbe would get on the El at 5 am to get to the cafe at 5:30 to cook breakfast. Later on, we and our 3 other children would come cook or serve when we could.  We have been regulars on Friday morning for three years.  We are part of a regular crew.  It was only through the kindness of staff and the regular volunteer cooks that we perfected our serving skills.  Occasionally, we serve evenings but we find ourselves creatures of habit and less effective with the complexities of dinner service.

What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?

We volunteer because we really enjoy meeting and serving the people who come to the Cafe, and we have met so many interesting and inspiring participants and volunteers. We volunteer because it has become a ritual, and when we can’t come on a Friday morning for some reason we feel that something is missing.  And no matter how often we drag ourselves out of bed for the early morning trip we always come away feeling connected to the humanness of others that we do not experience in our day to day lives.  We volunteer because, true to its name, Inspiration Corporation inspires us.

What aspect of volunteering are you most excited about? What is the most challenging?

A favorite part of volunteering for Jenny is she loves being a waitress (it takes her back to high school) and no one gets mad at her when she makes mistakes. The greatest challenge for Eric is to remember people’s names.  Luckily, he works with a group of servers who actually can remember.  He aspires to serve one time at Inspiration Corporation without making any mistakes on people’s orders!

What have you learned from your volunteer experience?

So many things–we’ve learned about twirling, pool, cars, Chicago politics, the unfair judicial system, and much more.  We’ve also been amazed by the breadth of reading interests and the variety of political philosophies represented—there is great diversity at Inspiration Corporation.

What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?

Our hobbies are swimming, running, biking, reading, gardening, cooking and spending time with our children!