For the last decade, Operations Manager Deep Singh and Warehouse staffer Vicente Nengasca have exchanged the same greeting: “Good Morning, Vicente! How are you?” “Deep, I am very fit and strong, and ready to do my work.”
Since 2010, Vicente has been an integral part of the warehouse team at The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s. Initially brought on through a worker retraining program, former Executive Director Alison Pence and Emma Catague, Program Supervisor at the Filipino Community Center, eventually helped secure Vicente a permanent position.
“Emma said she knew a manong [Filipino term of respect for a male elder] who needed work,” Alison, who retired in 2020, recalled. “I’m glad I hired him because he turned out to be a good, respectful worker. He was strong, prompt, and never gave anyone any problems. He ran the outside produce area like a sari-sari [neighborhood store]. No one could do it the way he did.”
Deep agreed. “I call Vicente the small giant. His dedication, work ethic, and outstanding personality might never be matched. He has worked in the background with great, positive impact to us (the staff and volunteers), and those he helped to feed.”
Vicente always felt welcome at The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s, he said through a translator. “I was treated with respect by the people I worked with, and looked forward to coming to work every day.”
Vicente and his wife, Leonora, arrived in the United States from the Philippines in 2004. Their life in America was not always smooth but they received support at the food bank and Filipino Community Center. Vicente was more than an employee to Alison. “He was like an uncle to me. I wish he’d had an easier life, and I hope from now on it will be.”
Vicente and his wife plan to return to the Philippines to enjoy retirement with family. “I would like to thank everyone, especially Alison and Deep, for giving me the opportunity to be part of the Food Bank @ St. Mary's Food,” he said.
Congratulations and thank you, Vicente! Best wishes for a long, happy, relaxing retirement.