For 13 years, Amos Ewing has been a familiar face in the halls of ASA, especially in the Helping Hands Food Bank. “It was in 2002,” he remembers. “I had quit my job that I was at for many years, and my mom had passed two years prior. My sister and my roommate at the time threatened to take me to see someone and put me on anti-depressants.” He decided against that and chose to volunteer at AIDS Services of Austin instead. “I realized that I did have my problems, but not like something that people faced every day,” says Amos. “And like that, my depression was gone. Volunteering has made me feel so fulfilled, and I have a sense of purpose.”
Throughout the years at ASA, Amos has made more friends than he can count and has become a part of the family. Amos has too many fond memories at ASA to pick just one. “We all went out for karaoke once. It was so much fun. I remember we were going to meet for happy hour and then it turned into 9:00 PM. We definitely need to do that again,” chuckled Amos.
Anyone that’s volunteered with the food bank can tell you that it’s tons of fun, but at peak hours, everyone gets down to business. “I remember this one day we were really swamped for the first hour. It was so busy. Ugly weather outside and standing room only. I went to call out a name in the waiting room, and no one answered,” Amos recalls. “I didn’t realize I was shouting until someone called me out and said ‘ATTITUDE!’ and then I noticed that I was yelling and distraught. It doesn’t happen often, but they caught me off-tempo that day. I’ll never forget it.”
Everything Amos does is for the clients. His energy and compassion is contagious. “It was a lot of fun bringing in crazy hats for Christmas and Thanksgiving for the staff and volunteers to wear. I like doing silly stuff like that. Like Gina keeping things upbeat even when we get flustered and busy. The clients really appreciate that we’re having fun while working,” says Amos.
In many ways, the food bank wouldn’t be the way it is today without Amos. “I remember when I first came in, the items weren’t placed on the shelf the way it was in order on the menu. I helped change that,” says Amos. “Everyone at the Food Bank is always open to new ideas to make the process smoother, cost efficient and effective,” and volunteers are certainly vital for this to happen. “The turnover in volunteers is sometimes challenging,” Amos admits. “Before, we had to retrain new volunteers every week. We’re blessed now. We have a lot of consistent volunteers and we have a team to work with.”
When Amos is not at the Food Bank, he spends his time upholstering furniture and traveling. “My partner and I travel all the time. I really wouldn’t be able to do it without him. From coast to coast. I have friends all over, and we get the chance to stay with them.” Not only is Amos a seasoned traveler, but he’s an amazing cook as well. “I love to cook and host dinner parties.”
Amos goes the extra mile to make sure that not only are the clients happy, but the staff are as well as. He created an entire meal for the staff for lunch one day. “I love being able to treat the whole staff,” Amos smiles. “There are people that really deserve it.”Amos also baked dozens of pies for the staff last Christmas and always contributes his amazing dishes to Thanksgiving potlucks.
In all the years that Amos has been a part of the ASA family, his compassion and motivation has remained the same since day one. “Since the ‘80s, I’ve lost hundreds of friends. I do it for my mom and the people that have passed away,” says Amos. “It’s just a good place for my mental health. It gets me out of the door in the morning.” When he thinks about the future of ASA and the Helping Hands Food Bank, he hopes “that we’ll have LESS clients!” Thanks to amazing volunteers like Amos, ASA is one step closer to reaching this vision.