Elie Abushanab was nominated by Monte Turner, Senior Gleaners of San Diego County’s Board President, for SVA / RSVP October Volunteer of the Month. He has been a dedicated volunteer with Senior Gleaners for 19 years. Senior Gleaners picks fruit in orchards and backyards and donates to organizations feeding those in need. Elie is detail oriented and uses his organizational skills to oversee and coordinate the work of approximately 20 North County volunteers and is not afraid to get his own hands dirty right along with the other volunteers. In addition to scheduling and coordinating the group’s picking, he also spends 3-4 hours every week picking fruit himself.
When asked what his favorite part of volunteering is, Elie said “I love the camaraderie of our group and helping to feed the poor and hungry”. Elie is known for keeping his friends at Senior Gleaners endlessly entertained with his terrific sense of humor and great storytelling abilities. His stories often come in different languages (3 of which he is fluent in).
Thanks to Elie’s hard work and congenial personality (he is an “unforgettable character who has a real zest for life”); many of the donors have become long-term contributors. Elie’s personal interest in the donors is evidenced when he goes so far as to check on some of the older donors to make sure they are alright. He makes new volunteers feel welcome as he teaches them what they need to know. Elie and his wife have hosted 5 fundraising breakfasts, over the years, which benefited Senior Gleaners tremendously. They also both regularly volunteer for the Escondido Library.
John Thacker, another 19 year veteran of the Senior Gleaners volunteer group summed Elie’s contributions up quite well “Without him, there is no North County Gleaners”. Congratulations, Elie, and thank you for your many years of exemplary service!!