Lara M. has long been the face of Bountiful Baskets in Missouri and Arkansas where she is the Volunteer Area Coordinator. She went out on a limb driving quite a ways to train and get her food and now she has a Bountiful Baskets site right in her hometown of St. Joseph. She is perhaps one of the kindest hearted most encouraging women to work with. As all mother’s of nine must she has a kind word handy always. We really appreciate that and bet you do too!
When/ how did you begin participating with Bountiful Baskets?
I first heard of Bountiful Baskets in the spring of 2012 and there were zero sites in my entire state. It took a couple of months but I finally convinced my husband that travelling almost 3 hours, one direction, to another state to train would be worth our while. We contributed for our first baskets in July, 2012 and have appreciated each and every one!
Why did you become a Site Coordinator?
Our city wasn’t aware of Bountiful Baskets at the closest site was 2-3 hours away. I wanted the co-op and realized that to make that happen, I would have to bring it here.
What is your favorite part about Bountiful Baskets?
Obtaining healthy REAL foods to feed my family at a price that makes sense!
What is your favorite part about volunteering/running a site?
Meeting all my participants and sharing REAL food with them all. I just LOVE when participants ask me how they can use an item they have never tried before but love it even more when they return to tell me how their lives are changing, in very positive ways, because of their participation.
Tell us a little about your site & your co-Volunteer Site Coordinator.
Our city graciously allows us to use the local Sports Complex and the folks there are extremely accommodating. All the employees are welcoming and a couple have even become participants.
My back-up site coordinator is Connie Thompson, a long time area resident. She always has a smile for our participants and a positive attitude. I am blessed to have her to rely on!
What makes your site fun – or unique?
My volunteers! It is often the highlight of my week to have that hour before pick-up to chat with them and talk about what we all enjoy: fresh produce! We marvel over each and every case, talk about how we plan to fix things, and dream of what might be offered the next distribution.
What’s the craziest or silliest thing that has happened to you or at your site during baskets?
Probably the day my grandson was baptized. I had set the time for right after baskets but my phone rang non-stop during the entire distribution because the godparents had TWO flat tires on their way and had to turn around to get new tires which made me have to reschedule the baptism *in the middle of distribution.* My AWESOME volunteers made it happen though and he was baptized later that evening AFTER I had time to return home and put all my yummy produce away!
Any weird basket dreams you’d like to share?
I haven’t had any but my oldest daughter has. Numbers aren’t her thing and she once dreamed she kept putting out baskets but it was never the right number of baskets so she kept counting them over, and over, and over, and over, and….
How has BB changed your life?
The co-op has literally revolutionized how I feed my family. I used to spend hours each week planning meals then elaborate menu plans and shopping lists to match. Because of Bountiful Baskets, stepping into a grocery store is now an extremely rare occurrence! We eat meat, and co-op produce, and not much else! Yes, I do purchase a few staples from an online provider that ships directly to my home but those trips to the grocery that I had come to loathe are no more!
What do you do when you’re not doing BB?
I educate our children at home, run a local host site for a nationwide cloth diaper loan organization, and am an AVID knitter, spinner, and crochet enthusiast.
Tell us a little about your family
My husband and I have 9 daughters and one grandson who is the apple of his aunties’ eyes
If you could have 1 super power… what would it be?
To bi-locate so I could get more done!
How many baby elephants did you contribute for last April?
Zero, but my 10yo begged me to max on them.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I don’t think the average participant truly realizes how much of themselves Sally & Tanya have poured into this endeavor or how committed they are to the cause of benefitting families, one dinner table at a time.
Lara, I am very interested in establishing a site in my area (north of St. Louis and am willing to make the 4+ hour drive for training if you are willing to mentor me in what my responsibilities would be as site coordinator. If you are willing to mentor me, can you please email me.
Any help would be appreciated,
I am very motivated to try and start up a bountiful basket – however, I live in NC and am moving to SC this summer. Neither state has any BB sites for me to visit/be mentored… What suggustions do you have? I checked the blog site for any posts with NC or SC as keywords to see if anyone else has shown interest there but don’t see any posts with either state mentioned…BIG SAD FACE! Can you help me?