BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Jay Marks is one of the thousands of people across Western New York who lost his job when COVID-19 rocked the region.
But before this stagehand put his costumes away to collect dust while he collected Unemployment benefits, he had already found a new 40-hour-per-week job as a full time volunteer for FeedMoreWNY.
“I just decided that I’d go out and volunteer and just keep myself active everyday. It keeps me fit and keeps me going," Marks said at a mobile food distribution drop off in Buffalo, where he was handing out food while in a full pirate costume.
Whether he's dressed as Blackbeard, Chewbacca, or wearing theatrical hats, Marks seeks to entertain those around him with his gregarious approach and positive attitude to get through the pandemic.
Marks says becoming an Eagle Scout laid the foundation for his desire to spend up to 40 hours a week volunteering. But he says his daily motivation is to get away from alcohol. The self-described recovering alcoholic has found that volunteering helps him avoid sliding into a COVID-19 funk, in which alcohol could be a tempting remedy.
“I could either sit at home and play video games or I could go out and be an example so that other people can see it and maybe it helps them," Marks said.
COVID-19 may have put Marks out of his traditional job, but it's given him a new purpose: to serve his community with flair.