Philanthropy brings joy to more than those in need.
Rick Haworth and his wife, Traci, have always enjoyed helping people. Traci is a special needs teacher who works with autistic children at Eisenhower Middle School here. “She absolutely loves what she gets to do,” Haworth. “As do I.”
Rick is operations manager at the Flint Hills Breadbasket. His enthusiasm is so infectious that volunteers and coworkers automatically begin smiling when they are near him. Haworth said he loves working at the breadbasket, not just because of what he does, but also because of the group of people he works with.
“One of my favorite things is being on a team that is passionate about their job,” Haworth said. “We are all passionate about the same thing. That is working with people that need help in our community.”
Haworth has been working at the breadbasket for almost a year. Prior to that, he worked for Westview Community Church in their outreach ministries. It was there he became involved with the breadbasket’s Adopt-A-Family program. Just as his position at Westview was coming to an end, one opened at Flint Hills. Soon, Haworth was working in a new area, although that didn’t mean he was disappointed.
“It’s just a joy to work here,” Haworth said. “There’s just a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.”
Haworth does many things as operations manager. He not only oversees volunteers, maintains the computers and the building maintenance, but also organizes, sorts, tracks and stocks 120,000 pounds of food in the warehouse. He is in charge of gathering the food from a variety of local businesses as well as distributing the food back out to the five pantries in Manhattan. He said that while the job is fast-paced and demanding, both physically and mentally, that is what he enjoys most.
“I love working around people,” Haworth said. “I am a problem solver and I like that. I think I like being in the thick of the busy-ness of the work we do.”
He also said he enjoys hearing from those community members who have used the breadbasket and returned to thank him once they were back on their feet.
Finally, Haworth said he enjoys working with the volunteers. So far this fiscal year, he said he has logged more than 5,000 hours of help from them.
“We have a great volunteer base,” Haworth said. “It’s amazing to me the different groups of people that will come down and volunteer.”
Whether sorting food, sweeping floors or directing volunteers, Haworth said he looks forward to each day and what that day will bring.