Volunteer of the Year: Steve Shoaf


When we showed up at one of three monthly Community Engagement Markets to award one of our most active locals our annual Volunteer of the Year award, he humbly accepted yet said he was sure there were more deserving folks sharing their time. As the former Director of Water Resources for the City of Asheville, Steve Shoaf said his work once consisted of a lot of math, science, and chemistry, and while there's not a lot of that involved in food packing and distribution, that he feels like he's right where he needs to be.

"Being retired, there are so many people who say to me that they wish they could think about retirement, yet fear they'll just work until they drop," Shoaf shared. "So I recognize how fortunate I am to be in this position and want to try and translate that into helping my community."

Throughout the pandemic, Shoaf has consistently shared his time packing and distributing food at both the Montmorenci United Methodist Church and at Erwin Middle School, two different food distribution sites open to the community and supported through a partnership with MANNA Foodbank. Shoaf was one of 41 volunteers to share his time through the market at Erwin Middle School this school year, one of three monthly Community Engagement Markets, which shifted from being held at weekly Homework Diners to a contact-less curbside community pick-up in light of COVID.


Shoaf likens his volunteer experience to that of being in the Peace Corps just out of college. "For me, it was very rewarding in a number of ways-- seeing the impact it made on people's lives and feeling the impact it had on me. When you help others, it feeds you as well." He will be sharing more of his experience in the upcoming United Way Kitchen Table event with The Chop Shop Butchery, where fellow retired members of our Asheville and Buncombe County community are invited to attend from the comforts of their own kitchen, cook and learn with us.

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