Back in September, Scott Thomas and Natalie Puri donated their personal food to ALIVE!, and soon after the couple were volunteering for the nonprofit, driving a food truck around the city and directing food distribution efforts.
“I asked if they needed volunteers and they asked if I could drive a truck,” Thomas told ALXnow. “That was on a Tuesday. By Friday I was going on a test drive.”
Thomas, who serves full time in the U.S. Navy, now manages multiple truck-to-trunk food giveaways at Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary School. It’s an important job that takes up two Saturdays and up to 12 hours of their time every month (Puri directs traffic at the events), but Thomas says it’s worth it.
“I’m always glad that I did it, because I think it’s valuable,” he said. “I think it would get done without me, but I’m glad to play a part.”
ALIVE! currently needs volunteers, all of whom are vetted through Volunteer Alexandria.
Thomas has noticed a change in the clientele since the coronavirus hit the city.
“You realize people are in dire straits,” he said. “We started seeing folks in very nice cars, new suburbans, and those are $70,000. You think in your mind that one of the owners could have been a bartender and the other worked at a health club, and they could afford a car like that, but now they’re both out of a job.”
He also looks forward to the end of the pandemic and no longer wearing a face mask.
“The worst part is not see people’s faces,” he said. “There’s a fine line from being very prosperous and standing in line for food. But I can tell that they are very grateful.”