Every Thursday morning at Missoula Food Bank, staff and volunteers alike look forward to the moment Maxine Rice walks in the door. Her appearance means they are all assured a giant hug. What a fantastic way to start the day!
The love Rice exudes through her hugs is the same love that she shares with the Missoula community on a daily basis. Rice not only volunteers for Missoula Food Bank, but has volunteered for a tremendous range of other agencies and projects as well. These agencies and projects include but are not limited to the City Police Department, the YMCA, Smokejumper’s Visitor’s Center, Life’s End Institute, MAS Elderservices, Montana Campus Compact, Montana Natural History Center, the Carousel, March of Dimes, the Word Program, Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the United Way, the Historical Museum at Ft. Missoula, and the Salvation Army.
Rice also helps at countless one time community events. Because of her lifestyle of service, most people in Missoula either know her personally, have been touched by her service or know of Rice. She has been volunteering in the Missoula community for the past 15 years and has contributed an excess of 2,277 volunteer hours. She is truly a bundle of energy, enthusiastic about what she does and has a genuine desire to make a difference in the lives of others.
Rice is an integral part of the collection projects at the Food Bank and takes part in organizing and leading their various projects. She is extremely organized, efficient, and diligent. She has been recently dubbed “Maxine the Machine,” which a testimony to her amazing ability to keep all of the Food Bank’s projects running smoothly. In fact, many of the projects are scheduled around Rice’s schedule to assure she is available to lead the team.
Rice is amazingly strong and energetic. Just the other day,she stubbornly hefted a large, heavy box of bananas as if it were a box of marshmallows. She regularly stocks the shelves at the food bank, assuring that they are organized and neatly prepared for the clients. The care and consideration she puts into every task sends the message to the clients that they are important.
Rice’s work in the community is lasting, important, and meaningful. For example, Rice has participated in such projects as a radon abatement project, during which she delivered radon kits to community members who wanted to test their homes. With her help, more than 900 kits were delivered. At the Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, she is also highly regarded as an integral part of their team.
The clients and staff at the Food Bank are encouraged by Rice’s laughter and dedication along with her tireless efforts. She truly exemplifies what it means to care about others, and serves as a role model to the staff and volunteers at Missoula Food Bank.