Samaritan House Spotlights Volunteers for National Volunteer Week

Meet Super Volunteer Robyn Chapman

Our amazing volunteer Robyn Chapman went to extraordinary efforts to support the Samaritan House Holiday Program in 2011, dedicating her annual "Volunteer Vacation" to helping out with food distributions and serving Thanksgiving meals at the King Center in San Mateo.

Samaritan House volunteer Robyn Chapman traveled all the way from Atlanta to San Mateo to help out during the Samaritan House 2011 Holiday Program. She also assisted at the food distributions and during the Thanksgiving dinner at The King Center, all within hours of  landing at the San Francisco Airport! It’s people like Robyn who make us proud, and help us realize how special our volunteers are. We will be spotlighting several of our outstanding volunteers this week, in honor of National Volunteer Week, organized by the HandsOn Network, which inspires people around the world to take meaningful action. Check out their website for activities they are planning for this special week, and contests and offers for outstanding volunteers.

This post is a sneak preview from our upcoming spring newsletter,
The Samaritan.

SH:Tell us about yourself. What are your hobbies and interests?
I was born and raised in Harrisburg, PA, and attended the University of Hartford in Connecticut, where I lived for several years before I was promoted and transferred to Atlanta.  I have been horseback riding competitively since I was 10 years old. I love to exercise, and to be outside with my dogs, my horse, or just enjoying the environment.  I enjoy reading books and magazines whenever I can. Live music is another passion, and I consider myself adventurous. I try to live every day to the fullest.

SH: How did you first become interested in Samaritan House?
I always take an annual “Thanksgiving Volunteer Vacation,” where the focus of each trip is a volunteer activity.  I decide on where I want to visit, and also search for an organization whose mission speaks to me.  I found Samaritan House by searching online, and representatives from the agency enthusiastically answered all my questions.  I felt an immediate connection. Samaritan House was the right fit for me!

SH: You mentioned your mom’s traditions of volunteering and how much it means to you.  How has this influenced you?
I started these volunteer vacations in 2009, the year after my mom died.  The tradition began when I returned home to Pennsylvania for a week every year for Thanksgiving, and she and I spent a couple of days shopping for food to deliver to various organizations in need. We had so much fun volunteering, and it always came naturally to us. These volunteering experiences are a way of honoring her tradition and giving back to those in need.

SH: What motivated you to travel all the way from Georgia to volunteer for the holiday program, and again for next year?

RC: New experiences, new people, great memories, and the desire to lend a helping hand.  If I can accomplish this in a place which holds some interest and even fascination for me, I am happy.  I so much enjoyed meeting and working with Melissa, Michelle, Ruby, and all the staff — I felt like I’d been volunteering for them for years!  Landing in San Francisco and literally jumping right in to volunteering for Samaritan House and home deliveries for holiday turkeys was a great experience.  On Thanksgiving Day, I was proud and humbled to serve families, the elderly, and those with illnesses. It was wonderful to see everyone treated with so much respect, and they were thankful for their plates brimming with food, including turkey, potatoes, gravy, and all the fixings. It was truly heartwarming. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? Not to mention remembering those in need all year round.

SH: What advice do you have for others who are thinking
about volunteering?

Just go for it. Roll up your sleeves and jump in. It’s a great experience, and so worthwhile to know you are helping others in need. I will never forget my experiences with Samaritan House, and look forward to more this year.

For information about volunteer opportunities at Samaritan House, contact, or visit our new Volunteer page by visiting and clicking on the DONATE button. The Volunteer link will appear on the navigation bars on the left.

 Do you have outstanding volunteers in your organization?
Tell us about it in the comments.


About samaritanhouseblog

With over 30 years of experience, Samaritan House provides a broad range of services and resources to low-income residents in San Mateo County. Services include case management, clothing, medical care, food, shelter, employment assistance, and food and toys for the holidays. All services are provided free of charge to low-income families.
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