Wednesday, March 9, 2011

March's Volunteer of the Month: Cleo Opera

We can’t always count on the weather, but we can always count on Cleo, our Friday morning receptionist. Since August of 2009, she has been a crucial member of our volunteer team. Cleo provides a warm and welcoming environment for those who call or stop by the Food Bank of Yolo County.

Cleo first heard about our volunteer opportunities while she was shopping at the Davis Farmers Market. She noticed that the Food Bank had a table full of information about our programs including gleaning, which she was particularly interested in because of a fruitful orange tree in her yard. Unfortunately, Cleo had been laid off that year, but she decided to keep herself busy by donating her time to the Food Bank.

When asked what her favorite part of volunteering with the Food Bank is, Cleo said with a smile, “Being here.” She elaborated that she loves working with our staff, volunteers, and clients, and that she feels like everyone appreciates her. Volunteering is important to Cleo because it allows her to be resourceful, give advice, and be helpful to those in need. As someone who is always eager to take the next step, Cleo explained that she has enjoyed taking on new responsibilities and that she has really grown with her volunteer position. One of Cleo’s recent assignments has been to research and post recipes including our Veggie of the Month on our blog. This has allowed her to merge her love of research and cooking, as she frequently tests out the recipes at home and later posts feedback. Cleo has mastered the art of being a receptionist, and hopes to continue learning more about blogging and computers.

At a very young 68 years old, Cleo doesn’t consider herself retired, rather “independent.” When she’s not with us, she’s volunteering with the Davis Food Co-op or the Yolo Hospice Thrift Store. Cleo likes to garden, is a very creative person, and has been a vegetarian for over 40 years. Cleo has a goal of one day owning her own business, incorporating her fondness of textiles and paper. A mother of two and grandmother of three, Cleo is also writing her life story which she hopes will inform future generations of her family.

Thank you Cleo for all of your hard work!


  1. Hi Cleo, these are great recipes! Did you come up with them and the photos yourself? And if so, I'd like to ask for permission to use them in our newsletters here at UC Cooperative Extension in Stanislaus County...

  2. Hi Annie,
    Thanks for the compliment, I'll make sure Cleo sees your comment. She's great at browsing for recipes and finds photos to match up. She posts photo credits and recipe sources for each recipe-- please refer to those. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me at

    Thanks for checking out our blog!

    Shawn Kramer
    Community Relations Coordinator


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