Meet Volunteer Gaby Lohner

Gaby Lohner moved to Charlottesville in 2018 to work as a Research Assistant with Nudge4 Solutions Lab at the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Nudge4 works to help lower income students navigate barriers to higher education.  Gaby works closely with community colleges, especially PVCC, helping students navigate admission and financial support. 

Katharine Sadowski, a long-time Loaves & Fishes volunteer who also worked at the School of Education, told Gaby about the Pantry, and after one visit Gaby was “hooked!”  She’s now a member of the Pantry’s Outreach committee, assisting with the monthly nutrition newsletter included in visitors’ grocery bags, and contributing lots of great ideas for spreading the word and supporting the pantry. (See Gaby’s guide to volunteering for Loaves & Fishes during the holidays.)

When Gaby came to Charlottesville, she didn’t know anyone, and now she says she feels like a part of the family of staff and volunteers at the Pantry.  During the pandemic, like many others, she has expanded her family to include a dog named Lily.

Gaby enjoys being outdoors and typically works Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings in the parking lot.  She recognizes and welcomes back many of the regular pantry visitors. 

Gaby’s father grew up in Puerto Rico and Gaby learned to speak Spanish as a child.  Visitors are happy to chat with her in Spanish, and she enjoys seeing everyone’s cute babies and small children.

During the pandemic, Gaby said that families are extra thankful for the overflowing shopping carts of groceries including meat, fresh vegetables and fruit as well as staples – and always some great pastries! Families thank her profusely, saying “God bless you” and “I don’t know how I would feed my family without you!” 

Although most of the visitors come in cars, some walk.  Gaby helps these visitors gather the food they need and can carry home with them. 

Visitors are especially appreciative of receiving diapers and pet food.  Gaby also suggested that donations of cleaning supplies, laundry products, and dish detergent would be most welcome. See our post about other ways to support Loaves & Fishes.

Loaves & Fishes is grateful for all Gaby contributes to our team and especially to the visitors we serve.