The Valley Fair Mall Site of Bountiful Baskets is in West Valley City, new Salt Lake City, Utah. Heather Shafer is so amazing and we would love to let you get to know her!
Heather S. – Volunteer Site Coordinator at Valley Fair Mall
When/ how did you begin participating with Bountiful Baskets?
I had heard about Bountiful Baskets several years back, but at the time, there weren’t that many sites, and I was unwilling to get up at 6:00 am and drive 30 miles to go get my produce (little did I know what I’d be doing a few years later!!) I started in February of 2011 when one of my neighbors shared on Facebook her Bountiful Baskets haul…I figured I’d look into it again, and thankfully there were more sites and closer to me! I officially became a VSC in June of 2013.
Why did you become a Site Coordinator?
I was volunteering almost every week anyway, so I figured being a Site Coordinator wouldn’t be *that* much more work! Also, one of the Site Coordinators was moving away and needed to find a replacement, so it just worked out!
What is your favorite part about Bountiful Baskets?
Oh my…what ISN’T my favorite part? Ok…maybe the getting up at 5:30am part, but seriously, Bountiful Baskets has great produce and their other products like the wraps, the bread and the oil are all such fabulous deals!
What is your favorite part about volunteering/running a site?
I love being a part of a community effort to help people save money and be healthy. Plus, I’ve met some absolutely wonderful people that I would probably have no reason to come in contact with otherwise!
What are your favorite basket items?
I love when we get grapes, berries, melons and love it when we get artichokes!!
Tell us a little about your site & your co-VSC.
Our site at the Valley Fair Mall is a great one! We get to be outside when it is nice weather, and inside when it is not! It may be early, but we have awesome regular volunteers, and we always love to see new faces! My co-VSC Janice and her husband Gary are always there every week to help out! They don’t let things ruffle them, and they are the nicest people you’ll meet. Gary might give you a bit of teasing every now and then.
What makes your site fun – or unique?
We have a Take & Trade/Firefighter’s Box at our site. Participants can drop off produce their family might not enjoy and trade it for something else that might look better there in the box. (We allow them to trade 1 large item for 1 large item or 2 small items or 2 small items for 2 small items so someone doesn’t walk off with everything!) Anything left in the box after distribution is finished, we donate to a local fire station. Our participants enjoy the opportunity to trade for more of their favorites and some enjoy giving things to the awesome firefighters!
Occasionally if I see something coming in the baskets that I think the participants might have a hard time using, or might not know how to prepare, I’ll find an easy recipe they can try and have several copies there.
What’s the craziest or silliest thing that has happened to you or at your site during baskets?
Hmm…I think our site is too early for anyone to really be awake and silly…things usually only get crazy if the truck is late and we don’t have enough volunteers! (Or if the truck is early and no volunteers yet!)
Any weird basket dreams you’d like to share?
I didn’t realize that I’d have basket dreams, and I thought I was going crazy until I heard other people say they had them, too. One silly dream I can remember is that we didn’t get enough watermelons for our site, and so instead of substituting something else, one of the volunteers had a knife and took it about himself to cut up the watermelons so everyone could get some. Seriously…how messy would that get! Ugh!
How has BB changed your life?
I get up a lot earlier on Saturday mornings now! But aside from that, it has helped me try out new foods that I never would have tried otherwise and it is nice to have healthy food on hand for snacks and meals.
What do you do when you’re not doing BB?
I am a wife and mother, I work from home part time for Bell Photographers and I’m also a consultant with doTerra International. To say I love to read is a major understatement! I’m an avid reader and am always looking for great recommendations! I enjoy gardening, photography & graphic design.
Tell us a little about your family
Right now there are just three of us in our family. My husband is a Captain with the Salt Lake City Fire Department. (So the fact that Bountiful Baskets chooses to donate any abandoned items to firefighters is awesome. Firefighters really are amazing people and they are always so appreciative of the produce we bring!)
I also have a son that will be 4 years old in May. He keeps us hopping with his questions and endless energy! His favorite thing to do right now is build with his Duplo blocks and play with his trains.
If you could have 1 super power… what would it be?
To be able to instantly travel to wherever I wanted to go in the world! How much time (and money) would that save!?
How many baby elephants did you contribute for last April?
None…I didn’t have anywhere to keep it! 😉 haha
Anything else you’d like to share?
Come and try it out! Especially volunteering! I think you miss out on half the fun when you don’t volunteer!!