It’s Volunteer Appreciation Month! The Market Foundation is grateful to have a dedicated core of volunteers who give their talents year-over-year to help keep the Market strong. As part of this month’s appreciation, we sat down with two of our longtime volunteers: Carol and Rey! Read more about how they got involved with the Market Foundation, and what keeps them returning after all these years.
Carol and Rey’s history with the Market Foundation goes back to 2002, when Carol learned about the opportunity through her co-worker at Starbucks. She remembers her first Sunset Supper: “It was really chaotic, but I had so much fun! Seeing all these people working to pull off the event, things really came together at the last hour.”
Carol loved the excitement of her first Market Foundation event, and tried to recruit Rey to join the fun. “Carol said: ‘You should try it Rey,’ and I said “NO!’” Rey laughs. Rey attended Sunset Supper as a guest for a few years, before finally being swayed and joining the volunteer team.
Carol continued to work a few other roles around the event, before finding her niche at Volunteer Headquarters: an important spot for volunteers to check in, ask questions, and connect with their leads. “Carol is a connector, she’s the people person,” gushes Rey. “She loves the interactions, this is a perfect job for her.”
Carol has a fantastic group to help her run Volunteer HQ: she, Joan (her sister), Ruth and Valerie have spent many Sunset Suppers working the tent and supporting our volunteers. “We have a dedicated team,” says Carol. “We’ve been working together so long, we have a system and know what to expect, but there are always surprises.”
When she’s not volunteering, Carol is a Business Systems Analyst at Starbucks, where she has worked for the past 23 years. “Even though my job is very technical, I love connecting with people,” says Carol. “These events give me a chance to show that part of myself, I feel like I’m really in my element.”
Carol also feels deeply connected to the Foundation’s mission. “When you think of Seattle, you think of Pike Place Market,” says Carol. “So I’m very grateful for the opportunity to volunteer and support the community here.”
Rey has a background in art direction, global branding, and film production, bringing all of those unique talents to the event experience. He has created promotional videos for the Foundation, implemented the design of essential event maps, optimized the load-in process, and much more.
When Rey was helping produce videos for the Market Foundation, he connected with community members and saw firsthand how volunteering for the Foundation helped support the Market’s service agencies. “I got to interview some of the seniors, and mothers at the Preschool,” says Rey. “I got to see these services really at work. And the fundraising events are instrumental in making those services possible.”
Nowadays, Rey can be found supporting the event setup process, especially ensuring Sunset Supper vendors can load in their vehicles, equipment, and staff in an organized fashion. “I’m a big picture guy, but I also like to be in the trenches,” he explains.
Though Rey has seen our events change in many ways over the years, he’s always ready to try new ideas and work with Market Foundation staff to improve the event experience. “I came to consider the Market my family, and this is a way for me to offer my talents and support,” said Rey. “I really became friends with everyone.”
Since their start with the Market Foundation, Carol and Rey have become a volunteer power couple, working countless events and offering essential support and expertise to our volunteer team. “Once you volunteer for Sunset Supper, you don’t want to miss it!” says Carol. “It’s the highlight of my summer.”
Even after 20 years of volunteering, they say they have no plans of stopping anytime soon. “Time flies when you’re having fun!” says Rey.
We are so grateful for Carol and Rey, and their years of dedication to the Market. They have become an instrumental part of the fundraising event experience, helping the Market Foundation raise crucial funds for our community!
For anyone interested in getting involved with the Market community, Carol and Rey highly recommend volunteering for the Market Foundation. “They really take care of their volunteers,” says Rey. “I do this because I enjoy helping, and I don’t expect anything from it. But the thanks and appreciation shown to the volunteers is pretty incredible.”
They both agree it’s an excellent opportunity to support the Market, experience Seattle’s most memorable events, and make friends while doing it. “One of the most rewarding things about continuing to volunteer, is all of the fun friendships I have established,” says Carol. “It’s exciting to look forward to the event and know that I will get to spend time with all of these incredible people again.”