He’s been an eager volunteer at Feeding San Diego for half his life, and 13-year-old Aiden Gruby still gets excited about using his time and talent to help relieve hunger in his community. His dedication to the cause began early—Aiden was just 6 years old when his parents, Janessa and Scott Gruby, brought him to an open house at Feeding San Diego. “And I just wanted to keep on coming,” Aiden says. So he did.
He began his work at San Diego County’s leading hunger-relief charity by sorting nonperishable items, checking for damaged items and expiration dates, and cleaning fresh produce. Along the way, Aiden learned about the nonprofit’s purpose and the people it serves.
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Courtesy Victoria Wall Harris
By the age of 10, Aiden was named a team leader, qualified to direct other volunteers. Normally, team leaders must be at least 13 years old, but Aiden had been volunteering for so long and had proved himself, so an exception was made.
Sam Duke, volunteer programs manager at Feeding San Diego, says the organization relies on 14,000 volunteers to support programs developed by its full-time staff members. Volunteers, he says, “are the heart of what we do here,” and 28 of the nonprofit’s consistent volunteers are age 18 and under.
When the food bank gets new volunteers, Aiden tells them about the organization’s mission to fight hunger and eliminate food waste.
Why is Aiden so dedicated? “It makes me feel really great and I wish that more people would volunteer at different places,” he says.
Janessa says Aiden typically volunteers at Feeding San Diego anywhere from twice a month to once a week. “Any chance he gets, he wants to go volunteer, and that’s all him,” she says. “We planted the seed and he ran with it.”