While working for UC Davis Health Systems as a pharmacy technician and studying for his Doctor of Pharmacy, Bill Byrne, 30, hoped to enrich his learning experience through contributing to his community.

Browsing the listings on handsonsacto.org , an online directory of local volunteer opportunities, Bill came across a profile for Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS). Surprised by the broad range of services offered at SFBFS, Bill initially had trouble deciding which program he wanted to be involved with.

Hoping to address community health issues which aligned with his educational pursuits, Bill found a posting to volunteer in SFBFS’ Demonstration Garden, which provides how-to gardening classes to the community at no cost. This appeared to be an excellent skill building opportunity.

“The energy at SFBFS is contagious,” Bill shared. “To see how many people in the community take advantage of the Demonstration Garden and see the benefits they receive has really made me realize what a great thing I’m a part of. The Demonstration Garden not only encourages people to eat healthier, but shows them where to start in order to create a thriving garden.”

Coming on board as a volunteer in January of 2013, Bill has taken on a number of tasks in SFBFS’ Demonstration Garden including transplanting trees, harvesting produce and most notably, designing and installing an irrigation system for the garden’s greenhouse.

“Volunteers in the Demonstration Garden are crucial,” said Greg Norrish, Garden Coordinator at SFBFS. “Without their support, there would be no way we could teach classes, harvest produce and maintain a quarter acre garden at the same time. Bill is willing to take on any project and he always keeps a positive attitude,” Greg continued.

Though his schedule becomes a bit hectic between attending classes, working as a pharmacy technician, hobby-gardening at home with his wife and volunteering at SFBFS, Bill hopes to watch the community’s involvement in the Demonstration Garden grow into the future.

“Building one-on-one relationships and being able to network with the community are what I feel the programs at SFBFS are all about,” Bill offered. “Working with the staff at SFBFS, you see their enthusiasm for what they do, the effort they put into their work and the value they place on it. It makes you want to keep coming back.”

Bill Byrne