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Out of the Bag: Meet The Volunteers Who Make the Magic Happen

A summary of the 2012 "Tote Bag Tuesday" volunteer profiles. Learn their stories and be inspired to get involved.

Our project is 100% volunteer and we have a fine array of folks who contribute their time, talent and enthusiasm to our help our neighbors and our environment.

Each week, we've tried to profile our volunteers in the "Tote Bag Tuesday" segment. This post will revisit those post and reintroduce you to a magnificent group of people.

Becky joined us through BlogMob and has slowly involved her entire family in the project. Her's was the first profile.

Our volunteer stopped in to The Toonseum for this week's profile.

Debby had no qualms about doing massive data entry for us. You can thank her for the list of places to donate your disposable bags.

The folks at Current Choice went shopping for "Sister Supplies" on their lunch break.

Jody donated tote bags. Then she organized a tote drive. Now she's a volunteer tote transporter. 

Monica went from interested donor to organizing food drives for her local pantry (and being fanatical about tote bags for her own shopping.) Her daughter has her own tote. She was a little over a year when we wrote this.

Sarah was the very first member of the media to write about us (on her former blog with the Post-Gazette.) We caught up with her a year later.

Bonnie suggests the City make sure there is a recycling bin AND a totecycling bin in every Downtown office

BurghSaver had few words, but great savings tips.

Shel volunteered and was quickly matched with a local student conducting a tote drive in his community. 

St. Stephen's Episcopal closed their food pantry so they could support other groups. Including ours.

John from YaJagoff.com thought perhaps we should use a sandwich board approach outside of conferences to solicit donations. He also introduced us to "This City." 

Sherris suggested we mash up "Time After Time" with "Edge of Glory" to bring a little Gaga to the team.

Our chat with the folks at the McKeesport International Village Festival reminded us that tote bags are not "new" - they are what people used before paper and plastic!

For KDH, it comes down to the fact that "way too many kids are food insecure."

New friend Yvonne proofs our press releases and has a "Perform Random Acts of Shakespeare" tote bag.

Diane brought spreadsheet skills to us and infused a little James Brown into our hearts.

Queen summed it up perfectly "The lines at the food pantry are way too long." 

Meredith is a busy mom who works full-time. She likes a flexible volunteer project, but admits she had never thought about the impact of disposable bags generated by food pantries. 

Our good friend Erika from the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse confided that the image of people struggling to carry their groceries home has remained with her. 

Devonte is a steward of the earth with a much loved American Eagle tote bag. 

Owen is a new dad who still makes times to pick up tote bags from a drop-off. He added some Beatles ambiance to our efforts.

This week, we met both Andy and Will as part of PghTweetUp. Always in search of the perfect venue, they set us up for a terrific drive at Verde Mexican Cantina. 

We had a little more in depth chat with Suzanne Mauro - local stylista - about styling up a tote bag and other interesting insights in the local fashion scene.

Grad student Brittany volunteered for a class project and thought revisiting the Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family" was a nice tribute to our efforts.

And, finally, Tiffany wrapped up the year with a festive tote featuring her little dogs and her belief that we are the little tote project that could.

It has been great to get to know some of our volunteers and supporters a little better. We hope their stories and feedback inspire you to get involved and to share your own tote bag tales. 

The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project collects new and gently used tote bags for distribution to the region's food pantries. We are a project of the Thomas Merton Center. Visit our website for a list of permanent drop-off spots, information on how to organize your own tote bag drive and details on our partnerships with corporations and promotional products items. You can also follow us on Twitter@Tote4Pgh and Facebook.com/Tote4pgh

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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