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Language barrier can't stop this Russian man from volunteering at Yolo Food Bank

Peter Voloshin is an honored food bank volunteer.
Credit: ABC10
Though he only speaks Russian, Peter Voloshin is a valued volunteer at the Yolo Food Bank.

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The people who make Northern California Strong are those who inspire us and make our communities a great place to live. ABC10 wants to highlight their strength by recognizing what they do. This week we want to introduce you to Peter Voloshin, volunteer with Yolo Food Bank’s West Sacramento distribution center.

There’re many exceptional volunteers at this location but the reason ABC10 is focusing on Voloshin is because a viewer told us about his unique work ethic.

Voloshin is 85 years old and the volunteers that work with him constantly compliment his energy and drive to help others. But unfortunately, Voloshin doesn’t always understand their gratitude. That’s because Voloshin only speaks Russian and most the people who volunteer here do not. 

“Peter is really good at pointing. So, I point Peter, I need this box over here,” says Yolo Food Bank Volunteer Bill Birtcial.  

Through simple sign language, Voloshin has managed to effectively serve the Yolo food bank for more than eight years. 

“He’s dedicated more than 800 hours of service between that time!” said volunteer coordinator Yasmin Fausto.

Other Russian/English speakers who come through the food bank line translate for Peter, but recently, volunteers use translator services on their cell phones to learn more about Peter, his work ethics and packing skills. 

“He was a geologist when he was younger so he has a scientific mind. So, he is really good; in fact, I call him an artist on packing,” Birtcial said.

When asked through the translation service why Voloshin volunteers with such passion, he said the following.

“The most important thing to me is that all people are happy,” Voloshin said.

Peter Voloshin is NorCal strong. If you want to nominate a strong Northern Californian send a text (916) 321-3310 and put NorCal Strong in the text. Feel free to send pictures and or web links in the submission. 


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