Food Bank Mourns Loss of Beloved Volunteer

John_SchneiderBy Kevin Brown

John Schneider, one of Yolo Food Bank’s most valuable, dedicated and well-liked volunteers, passed away on Friday, October 21, 2016. John brought much energy and knowledge, as well as a positive attitude, to his volunteer position at Yolo Food Bank.  And, he considered the Food Bank a second home since joining the volunteer ranks in fall of 2009.

John volunteered twice a week and logged a staggering 3,132 hours while doing a variety of jobs with the Food Bank.

As a driver, John delivered fresh produce (and even bicycles that he repaired himself!) to students at local elementary schools through the Kids Farmers Market program. He also delivered boxes of food to hungry people through the Rural Food Delivery program, and completed weekly Tuesday pick-ups of fresh produce from farms in the Capay Valley.

John went above and beyond his volunteer duties to work as a teacher and tutor for Yolo Food Bank staff and clients. His efforts included helping colleagues to improve their skills as truck drivers, and assisting staff members and Food Bank clients improve their command of the English language. It’s not a stretch to say he was a kind and generous mentor to many people.

“John was an Esparto School District board member with my mom, Chris, at the same time I attended Esparto High School many years ago, so you could say he had an impact on me before I even started working at Yolo Food Bank,” said Josh Ellis, volunteer manager and procurement specialist. “John was more than dependable and hard working, he was a truly genuine individual and he will sorely be missed.”

John’s ever-present smile and bright blue eyes were a fixture in the Food Bank’s warehouse and offices. John would often work on packing produce, as well as show up before sunrise for the Friday’s Table distribution where he would hand out produce, bread, meat, dairy and flowers to his neighbors in need.

When asked his favorite part of volunteering with Yolo Food Bank, John said he enjoyed the opportunity to network with others, the friendly atmosphere, working with a diverse group of people, and being appreciated for his time.

John was named Yolo Food Bank’s 2014 Philanthropist of the Year and was recognized at a ceremony at the Woodland Senior and Community Center, where he had this to say about his experience:

“Volunteering and working at Yolo Food Bank is like being in a family. I’ve worked here for the past five years and the people here… always welcome you with a friendly smile and open arms. Yolo Food Bank provides a very basic service to the people of Yolo County and I am really glad to be part of that.”

Volunteering meant a lot to John, with some of his desire to help others coming from his time serving in the Army as a medic. John also studied Buddhism and believed in the interconnectedness of all living things. He had previously volunteered with Meals on Wheels and CASA.

A retired resident of Woodland, John spent much of his career with various school districts as an elementary school and special education teacher and administrator. Originally from Los Angeles, he also lived in Ohio, Colorado, and Washington before returning to California. Married with three daughters and four grandchildren, John also enjoyed painting and gardening.

Yolo Food Bank staff, volunteers and clients will remember John as a vital member of the Food Bank team. His compassion and steadfast commitment to alleviating hunger in Yolo County will never be forgotten. We honor John for the wonderful person he was and for all he did. And, we will miss him with all our hearts.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Marina Kalugin

    Thank you for sharing this story about John Schneider.  I had met him and remember him, though I didn’t even know his name or who he was or what he did.  I am glad that a friend of his chose to write this and that the DV chose to run it.

    This wonderful person had an imprint on this community and helped many people.  I am glad that we got to share his story and his life through the words here.

    For those family and friends for whom Mr. Schneider had been an important person in their lives, I hope you take come comfort in knowing that his work had a lasting effect on many others who may not have even known his name, and I hope that memories of the good times will give you some peace.

  2. tjcamping

    John was also a beloved volunteer at the Woodland Public Library, tutoring 6 students individually to improve their reading and writing skills. He was always looking to help his students and the program. He will be greatly missed.


    There will be a Celebration of Life service for him at the Woodland Public Library Leake Center on November 15 at 10am. For more information call Literacy Services at 530-661-5986.

  3. Napoleon Pig IV

    John is the kind of person who should be remembered and celebrated for generations to come – and whose example the aspirations and standards of our culture and civilization should be based upon.

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