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Meet a Volunteer for July 27, 2014

This week the Second Harvest Northern Lakes Food Bank and Duluth News Tribune recognize Jheri McMillan and Georgina Cantoni for their contributions to the food shelf’s bakery over the past year.


McMillan oversees the bakery by passing out bread and desserts to families and people in need. Cantoni says, “Lately. I have been working in the bakery (bread and pastries), but I have experience with refrigerated foods, personal shopper and stocker assistant.”

What is your favorite part of volunteering?

McMillan: “I used to assist my grandmother in the bakery where she worked. Aside from the strong desire to work a cash register, I love the bakery because I am able to be with people and help them fill their pantry or freezer. Oh, yes, I have become known as the cake lady … anyone who has a birthday within that month receives a large sheet cake of their choice. Ask and you shall be given.”

Cantoni: “I like the people, staff and volunteers, but mostly the clients. I’ve come to think of many of them as friends, coming for a quick visit and I try to treat them as I would treat my family — with caring, respect and understanding. And what I discover is their strength and courage to face the challenge they have.”

Do you have a favorite memory from your experience? McMillan: “Every day is different, so every day is a new memory. I am so thrilled to be a part of this. One statement from a family that left a strong impression on me was when I asked, ‘What is it you need?’ They replied, ‘Our freezer is empty; we have nothing.’”

Cantoni: “I asked a gentleman if he had an oven. His reply: ‘I don’t have electricity.’ Another gentleman revealed that he lives in a trailer and had no heat during the coldest months of this past winter. The mother who is not working because her pancreas transplant has failed and she is dying, but needs to care for her two teenage sons.”