Crystal Grant, Volunteer at New York Common Pantry

Crystal has been in New York for eight years. Crystal enjoys exploring the city and spending time outdoors. When she’s not busy, Crystal can be found attending belly dance classes or performing in showcases. Crystal loves checking out art museums, galleries, and attending church. She is passionate about improving education and ensuring everyone has access to good quality food. Crystal started volunteering at New York Common Pantry two years ago, coming once a month. She now volunteers every few months or when she has time, since a change in her work schedule.

Q: How did you first hear about New York Common Pantry?
A: I used to volunteer with my mother working in a soup kitchen when we lived in the same city, but when I moved back to NYC, I let my busy lifestyle take over and stopped volunteering for a while. I eventually decided to start giving back again and found New York Common Pantry through a Google search. The welcoming staff and the impactful work being done in the community kept me coming back.

Q: What do you enjoy most or what is your favorite thing about volunteering at NYCP?
A: I enjoy knowing that people are getting access to high quality food. Food instability has been an issue that weighs on my heart. The price of food has gotten so high. I’ve seen and read so many news stories about people having to skip meals or eat less because they can’t afford food. Inflation has impacted just about everyone in my opinion, so I am glad to know that people aren’t having to go without because they can always come to New York Common Pantry to get something to eat.

Q: What motivates you to give back to the community at NYCP?
A: My motivation to give back to the community at NYCP stems from my mother’s influence. She instilled in me a sense of giving back through her own volunteer work in soup kitchens and school supply drives. Witnessing the joy it brought to others inspired me to continue her legacy.

Q: How has interning/volunteering at NYCP made an impact on you?
A: Volunteering has definitely helped me to remain compassionate toward other people’s needs. I think NYC is a place where people become very guarded. Many people end up just looking out for themselves as a means to protect themselves, but when I volunteer, I am able to relax and focus on helping others. Most people I have seen come in are very grateful for the assistance, and I love knowing that the work I did that day mattered.

Q: What message would you share with someone who is considering volunteering?
A: Find an area in society where you feel like it needs improvement, and then go see what you can do to help. Don’t forget that you matter, and the goodness you spread makes the world around you a better place.