Volunteer Spotlight: The Hendersons Found a Calling in the NTFB Warehouse

The couple say they’re happy to take on any job that contributes to the North Texas Food Bank’s mission of providing access to nutritious food.

When it comes to nicknames, the “cardboard people” was not one Martin and Debbie Henderson saw coming.

The couple moved to the Plano area from Colorado 20 years ago to be near their daughter and grandchildren, and after retiring three years ago began volunteering a few times a week at the North Texas Food Bank.

“We’re service oriented as Christians, and it just seemed to be a good fit,” Martin says. “We wanted to do something out here in the community and it’s just been a good calling.”

Martin and Debbie have completed various jobs at the Perot Family Campus while volunteering but have found their niche packing up flattened boxes and on a typical Thursday morning can be seen in the warehouse collecting and baling cardboard.

“Now they call us the cardboard people,” Martin says, with a smile. “We like it, and they can just leave us to get the work done.”

Debbie sometimes deviates to help sort and pack bread, but the two say they miss one another when they’re not working side by side.

A retired HR professional, Debbie learned about the Food Bank through volunteering with her previous employer, Haag Engineering. Martin owned his own pest control company and has also retired.

With eight grandkids, the couple spends time traveling to see family when they’re not volunteering. When they’re in town, though, they never miss a shift. Debbie has given around 300 hours and Martin more than 350 hours.

“It’s a fun place to work. The people make it enjoyable, and you really feel like you’ve done something because they tell you how many people you’ve fed at the end of each shift,” Martin says. “It’s a rewarding experience.”

Debbie adds that they know the need for food assistance continues to increase, so they’re grateful to be a part of helping meet the need.

“I love to see the big trucks pull in, fill up and off they go with food,” she says.

Kathleen Petty is communications manager for the North Texas Food Bank.