The Storehouse of Collin County has named longtime volunteer Carol Frye as the 2023 Volunteer of the Year for her dedicated service since 2009. Frye, who has been a volunteer for The Storehouse since its opening day and logged 4,565 hours, handles intake forms and data entry – a volunteer role she continues today. On April 23, Frye was the guest of honor at The Storehouse’s 2023 Volunteer Appreciation Celebration at Riders Field, where she was invited to throw out the first pitch at the Frisco RoughRiders game.
“All of this has been so overwhelming, and I’m so appreciative of this tremendous honor as well as everyone’s enthusiastic support,” said Carol Frye. “The Storehouse was so kind to include my children and grandchildren in the celebration at the ballpark. Fortunately, my son had retrieved his old baseball from the attic and practiced with me a little in advance! The Storehouse is like a second family to me. Anyone there would do anything for you. They are loving, caring, fun, upbeat, and always there for you. It is a joy to serve with this dedicated team.”
Each week, Frye receives a stack of intake forms from The Storehouse to input into the database. She works from her home several days each week, sometimes up to six hours a day, typing in the information. Previously, data entry took place on site, but the pandemic changed the location to individual homes. Frye has seen many changes over her years of service.
“I think back to almost 15 years ago when The Storehouse first opened, and our intake system consisted of copies of forms with names, addresses and phone numbers that we filed alphabetically in a box,” said Frye. “I still remember that first day we opened, we were all geared up and only one family came! But it didn’t take long until our numbers began to grow. When 50 families came, we wondered how we would do it, and then before we knew it, it was 150. Of course, today our food pantry serves an average of 650 families on just one distribution day! We now have a wonderful team of seven who assist with intake work. I divide the papers into piles, and my fellow volunteers come pick up their portions to input data at their homes.”
Frye’s computer expertise comes naturally and first began when she was a new college graduate from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania.
“I had just graduated with plans to teach high school math,” added Frye. “However, this was during the Vietnam War, and my plans changed when I was hired by the federal government, which was recruiting women right out of college to do coding for a national security agency. I worked doing signal intelligence and coding for five years on computers that were 10 years ahead of their time.”
During this time, Frye met her late husband, who had just gotten out of the Army and was working in Washington DC. He worked in telecommunications, and the couple moved frequently, living in eight different homes until settling in Atlanta for 12 years to raise their three children, two girls and a boy. Frye’s computer experience made it easy to get a job wherever they settled. They moved to Virginia for two years and then to Texas in 1990 and eventually owned three Primrose Private Preschools. Frye continued to run the schools for seven years after losing her husband. She then downsized, sold the schools, and started looking around for something to give her purpose as her children were getting married and starting families of their own.
She was a member of St. Andrew Methodist Church and enjoyed Bible study and a group called Sarah Sisters. One day The Storehouse Founder Sharon Hasley, wife of St. Andrew’s late Sr. Pastor Robert Hasley, was talking about starting a food pantry. Frye was asked to serve on the organization’s advisory board and started volunteering. In addition to helping with intake, Frye bagged food in the food pantry and sorted donations in the clothing closet.
“Serving gave me a purpose,” added Frye. “The Storehouse gave me something meaningful to do in my life. You could see how appreciative every neighbor was as well how desperate they were. It was rewarding to be able to serve them.”
Frye encourages others looking for a wonderful volunteer experience to try The Storehouse. She also collects plastic grocery bags from friends who bring them to her for the food pantry.
“The Storehouse is such a feel-good organization that gives my life purpose and sets a good example for my grandchildren,” added Frye. “I honestly get much more out of it than I give.”
“Words upon words would not be adequate to thank Carol Frye for all she has done over the years for The Storehouse and our neighbors,” said Candace Winslow, CEO, The Storehouse of Collin County. “She has been a loyal, hard-working, behind-the-scenes volunteer for The Storehouse of Collin County from day one, working tirelessly each week entering our neighbors’ information into our database with such attention to detail and love for each of the neighbors. We could not be more grateful for her steadfast dedication. Carol is, indeed, a beloved member of our Storehouse family!”
To volunteer at The Storehouse, visit www.thestorehousecc.org/volunteer-sign-up.
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The Storehouse of Collin County provides short-term assistance and long-term transformation to residents of Collin County in need through the Seven Loaves Food Pantry, Joseph’s Coat Clothing Closet, Project Hope Neighbor Care, and The Academy Education Program. The nonprofit was founded in 2009 by St. Andrew Methodist Church under the name of Seven Loaves Community, which provided food pantry staples and grew over the years to meet a variety of needs. Over 5,000 families on average access Seven Loaves each month. The Storehouse provides clothing at no cost through Joseph’s Coat as well as counseling and case management through Project Hope. The Academy provides free and reduced-cost classes to assist with language, job, or life skills development. Visit www.thestorehousecc.org. The Storehouse EIN: 27-1883333