Joann and John Taunton

For the past 11 years, Joann and John Taunton have been organizing, sorting, and more for SAFE Alliance.

Joann and John Taunton began volunteering with one of the SAFE Alliance’s founding agencies, Austin Children’s Shelter, in the fall of 2012. Since that time, they have given thousands of combined volunteer hours to SAFE with hands-on projects like sorting donations, organizing storage spaces, and a slew of administrative tasks. Joann has become well-known for her particularly incredible organizational skills. She and her unflappable husband John take disorganized spaces like donation sheds and closets and transform them into functional, practical spaces that allow the Family Shelter and Warehouse at Grove Campus to be more accessible and useful to SAFE clients and staff.

Even when the pandemic was at its worst, Joann and John were eager to return to volunteering and were two of the few volunteers who were allowed to return early to onsite volunteering since their work was so needed. “Their magic touch makes everything easier,” said Zandra Gauthier, SAFE’s Shelter Operations Manager. “We missed them during the peak of the pandemic and when staff heard they were coming back, people were excited! I am forever grateful for their volunteer work.”

Over the years the Tauntons have helped primarily with organizational projects but have also assisted SAFE with their annual holiday program and annual gala, regularly purchasing items for youth and adults in need.

“They have been dedicated volunteers since 2012, and their enthusiasm to support the kids, adults, and families we serve at SAFE is as present now as it was 10 years ago when I started working with them!” says Lindsay Contreras, Director of In-Kind Giving at SAFE. “Their thoughtfulness is present wherever they go. They take it upon themselves to help make the Pantry and Basic Needs Closet more organized with clear totes, laundry baskets, and new labels! Their bright personalities brighten up our mornings, and they work hard to track their hours so their company can provide grants to SAFE. The warehouse team loves them!”

You can find the Tauntons at the Warehouse on Grove Campus every Monday, working 3 to 5 hours helping to process new pantry donations, keeping inventory, stocking and organizing basic needs items in the warehouse and the Basic Needs Closet.

“We are so grateful to Joann and John for their dedication, service, and care,” says shelter ops manager Zandra. “Joann and John understand the work we do, and then organize spaces that just make our work a little easier.”