John’s Story – Perspective and Empathy

John has a long and distinguished history as a Friends In Deed volunteer. He started helping out as a grant writer in 2009, but soon found a more permanent home in our Food Pantry. For a while, when he was between jobs, he was volunteering full time! These days, he carves out time for us on Wednesdays, taking a regular pantry shift. 

In his day job, John is a market research consultant – a career that involves a strong understanding of people and their behavior. We see that in John’s interactions with our clients – he treats them with dignity, and enjoys meeting and interacting with all different kinds of people, helping us create the nonjudgmental environment we want for our community.

John also brings something of an international perspective to the pantry. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, but in more recent years he has been regularly visiting Mongolia, where his wife’s family lives. It sounds like a very different world to the US – a society that is still adjusting to the end of Communism, and in which living in yurts and drinking fermented horse milk is part of the culture (which is not to suggest that Mongolia is technologically backward – many yurt dwellers also have solar panels and cellphones). But John feels that this exposure to different backgrounds and cultures is something that gives him a sense of perspective and has developed the empathy he feels with our community here in Pasadena.

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