For the first time in Pierce County Hunger Prevention Council history, the Pierce County Food Pantry in Ellsworth is honoring a volunteer for National Volunteer Week April 7-13.

Norman "Norm" Canfield was named the valued volunteer by the Council board. Canfield has dedicated nearly four years every week or more to the pantry.

"I just can't go sit down somewhere with nothing to do," Canfield said. He retired in 2013.

Canfield said volunteering has given him something worthwhile to do with his time right in his backyard-literally. He lives just a few hundred feet from the new Pierce County Food Pantry building.

"He's the jack of all trades," Jennifer Thatcher, Director of the Pierce County Hunger Prevention Council, said. "The (council) board very quickly agreed that Norm would be a great candidate."

Canfield plans to volunteer for as long as he possibly can.

Thatcher said she wanted to start this tradition each year to give recognition to the volunteers who are responsible for running the pantries in the county.

So far other pantries in the area have not chosen local volunteers for their specific pantries.

"It took a lot of manpower," Thatcher said about the 20 years the Council has existed thus far.

To reward the volunteers, Thatcher asked local businesses to donate money or gift cards to give to the volunteers for a raffle drawing; $615 were raised for the volunteers, according to Thatcher's records.

A few quick facts about the volunteers at the Pierce County Food Pantry:

• In 2019 as of April 5, 35 volunteers committed 1,200 hours of their time and talent

• In 2018, 67 volunteers committed 3,500 hours

• Volunteer roles include:

• Drivers: picking up donations, delivering food to other locations, and sometimes transporting groceries to those challenged with getting to the Food Pantry

• Warehouse workers: Putting food/groceries away and/or stocking shelves

• Pantry workers: Guest check-in, helping to guide guests through the pantry, grocery carry-out, etc.

A volunteer appreciation night will be held on June 3 from 4-6 p.m. at the Common Man Tap & Table in Ellsworth. This is a community gathering to learn more about volunteering with the food pantry and create a dialogue between past, present and future volunteers.