Volunteer of the Month: Rafael Zuniga

July 2, 2014

CUESA’s Volunteer of the Month program recognizes the dedication and work of some of our most active volunteers. CUESA relies on volunteers to help with education programs, special events, public outreach, and other activities that help fulfill our mission to cultivate a sustainable food system. Learn more about volunteering and sign up here.

Rafael Zuniga started working with CUESA a year and half ago as a La Cocina volunteer at Hecho en San Francisco, a fundraiser for La Cocina and CUESA. He enjoyed the experience so much that he decided to join CUESA’s volunteer program. Since then, he has been a dedicated volunteer at CUESA fundraisers like our seasonal cocktail events, Summer Celebration, and Sunday Supper.

“Rafael is a core event volunteer who is very familiar with our setup and logistics,” says Director of Development Christine Farren. “Knowing he will be volunteering at an event makes me that much more confident it will run smoothly. He is game to take on any task and does all of them equally well. He is one of those unassuming, quiet types who quickly becomes indispensable without you realizing it. He is quick to smile and has an affable, easy-going nature about him that makes him a pleasure to work with.” Meet Rafael.

CUESA: Where does your interest in food come from?
Rafael: Apart from the love of eating it, I guess it goes back to when I was volunteering with a number of community gardens in the city used as classrooms for schools. Over the years I have also worked with youth groups, and we always tried to instill in them the importance of healthy eating habits.

CUESA: What do you do when you aren’t volunteering for CUESA?
Rafael: I volunteer with a number of nonprofits, I enjoy hanging out with friends, and try to take advantage of cool happenings in the city like music concerts, art shows, happy hours, etc.

CUESA: What is your favorite part about volunteering with CUESA?
Rafael: Meeting and hanging out with other volunteers, of course! Oh, and getting to taste the food at special events is a close second.

I have always believed it is important to know as much as we can about the food we eat, and what better way to do this than by talking to the farmers that grow it at the farmers market? Having worked with children and youth most of my life, I am pleased to be a part of an organization that places such importance on educating young minds about sustainable food systems.

CUESA: Do you have an insider market tip or favorite produce item at the market right now?
Rafael: In terms of fruits that are in season right now, I would have to say melons, particularly cantaloupe. I helped out at County Line Harvest’s table at Summer Celebration a couple weeks ago, and all the melons on their table were delicious.

Pictured above: Volunteers Judi Marder, Evanthia Skalkos, Rafael Zuniga, and Peggy Scherrer at CUESA’s Sunday Supper. Photo courtesy of Judi Marder.