July 2018 Volunteer of the Month: Thoma Bastin

Have you met this fantastic lady yet? We hit the jackpot when terrific Thoma decided to join our lovely volunteer family! She volunteers several times each week and has contributed nearly 400 hours of service since September 2016 to transforming lives through the power of food.

Thoma was introduced to Second Helpings through her participation in the 2016 Indy Do Day. It only took one volunteer shift and she was completely hooked. At the time, she had recently retired from her 20-year career as a French/Spanish teacher and 18-year career as a National World Languages Consultant for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishers. It only took so much time to completely re-organize her closets, so she quickly realized she needed something meaningful to do with her time. Well, she found it!

She began her Second Helpings volunteer journey in the Hunger Relief Kitchen as a Produce/Meat Chopper and it didn’t take long for her to express interest in other areas of our mission. She felt she would get a better sense of the big picture if she tried out other volunteer opportunities. So, she began signing up for Food Rescue and Meal Delivery shifts, too! Since then, she’s become a Pan Prepper, Tilt Operator, Kitchen Lead for volunteer groups, pinch hit Driver, Souper Bowls volunteer… the list could go on and on. When asked if there is a volunteer gig she won’t do, she says, “I love it all! I’m just humbled to be part of a great organization that has such an amazing purpose and goals.  To be a part of that, in any small way, is rewarding.“

What does Thoma enjoy the most about volunteering at Second Helpings? She says, “The joy that it brings me to give back to my community. It gives me a sense of purpose. I love the smiles on the faces of the kids when delivering meals, the wonderful people at partner agencies that I’ve met, and most importantly, every one of the volunteers and staff.  It is always such a treat to see the smiling faces. I leave happy each time I visit. (Let’s not forget that Chef Kathy’s music is a great motivator when I’m in the kitchen!)”

When she isn’t being a Second Helpings hero, she loves going on worldly adventures with her husband, hiking with the Indiana Volksmarch Group, having fun with her “Fab 55” women’s group (who also volunteer at Second Helpings), substitute teaching, gardening (she donates her lettuce to us, too!), and spending time with her mother. She has given up her hobby of raising Champion Afghan hounds, but don’t think she’s checking anything off her list because she has just been cast as an extra in a local Indie film.

Did you ever think that one person could be such a busy bee? Thoma is the Queen Bee and quite an incredible lady at that! We are so fortunate that she has chosen to spend her retirement with our volunteer family and are forever grateful for her tireless dedication towards fulfilling the mission of Second Helpings.


  1. Pam

    Terrific Thoma is a wonder and also a great friend to all who know her in the kitchen and out-and-about. Excellent choice for the SH Volunteer of the Month.

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