SAL AND CONNIE
SAL AND CONNIE
Every Tuesday morning, about a dozen residents of Shaker Pointe independent senior living community in Latham head out to volunteer at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, located in Troy. For two hours, they sort, scour, inspect or toss hundreds of cans and boxes of food as they pass by on conveyor belts.

For the past year, these seniors have donated their time to the food bank, which distributes donated food to food pantries, shelters and people struggling with homelessness.

"I used to volunteer with a group from St. Ambrose parish in Latham. [This] is very satisfying work," said volunteer Connie Kelly, pictured ast right with fellow volunteer Sal Aiezza .

Mr. Aiezza said that "it's just amazing what you can accomplish there in a short amount of time. The Food Bank is happy to have you for whatever amount of time you can give."

The volunteers sort the food, check "sell by" dates, inspect the condition of the products and decide what to throw out. The seniors know that many people are in need of food, so "the hardest part is seeing the amount of food that needs to be thrown away," said Mr. Aiezza.

The group meets other regular volunteers each week. "One man we see often told us that years ago he heard that volunteering keeps you young. He's 92 now and still volunteers at the food bank -- so I guess it works!" Ms. Kelly said.

Since the warehouse is so large, the senior volunteers bundle up in winter clothing. "Once you get to work, you forget all about the cold," Ms. Kelly said. "Plus, we're talking and laughing nonstop while we work!"

Other volunteers from Shaker Pointe include Mary Ann Lettau, Jack Mayer, Vince and Mary Murphy, Jack Egan, Bob and Barb Donnaruma, and Terri Powers.

"Volunteering," said Mr. Aiezza, "just puts you in a good mood."