Daryush Bastani and Margaret Burton - February 2020
Monte Turner, the Board President of Senior Gleaners of San Diego County, nominated two special volunteers as Volunteers of the Month for February 2020: Daryush Bastani and Margaret Burton. Senior Gleaners glean surplus food from fields, backyards, stores, and restaurants and distribute the food to non-profit agencies throughout the county that feed the hungry, such as the San Diego Food Bank. Margaret is the crew leader and Daryush is the substitute crew leader of a group of seniors who pick fruit in Clairemont and the surrounding areas, primarily from backyard picking sites. Their crew is one of five that cover all of San Diego county. Along with their typical fruit gleaning duties, both volunteers have taken on additional roles, such as coordination and crew support. Margaret drives an extended cab pickup truck to the picking sites, which she uses to transport volunteers, equipment, and supplies. She also transports boxes of produce to drop-off locations after the picking session. Daryush hauls produce when needed as well. They work together to facilitate carpools or pick up crew members who don’t drive. They help foster social connections by including stops for coffee or treats along the way. Daryush and Margaret also both assist with outreach and promotion. They have attended numerous events and festivals to represent Senior Gleaners at an information table in order to recruit new volunteers and fruit donors. They even appeared on a local morning talk show to promote the Gleaners. In addition, last year Daryush and Margaret teamed up to design, order, and sell Senior Gleaners shirts and baseball caps. Margaret machine embroiders each item with the Gleaners’ logo while Daryush handles sales and distribution. Both contribute financially to support the Gleaners as well. For two years in a row, Margaret has recruited more sponsors than any other volunteer. Daryush and Margaret stand out for their motivation and eagerness to help with new projects and extra assignments. Once given a project, they take full responsibility without needing extra help or guidance. They are very welcoming to new crew members and inspire caring and camaraderie among all their fellow volunteers. Their enthusiasm for the Gleaners’ mission is contagious. Daryush and Margaret each have a strong work ethic and great sense of humor. They are infectiously positive and wonderful ambassadors for Gleaners. In addition to what they each do for San Diego Senior Gleaners, they both volunteer for other organizations. Daryush volunteers with San Diego Canyonlands and Jewish Family Service, while Margaret volunteers at Vitas Hospice. The Gleaners (and San Diego County) are lucky to have these two wonderful volunteers. Thank you, Daryush and Margaret, for all your hard work and dedication to the community!