Delores Aldinger knows The Open Door. With her volunteer experience spanning over a decade, Delores has seen The Open Door go through it all. From major moves and expansions to staff changes and turnover, to quickly adapting through the beginning of COVID-19, she never wavered as an Open Door volunteer. When asked why, “It’s just fun here,” she said.
Delores volunteered at The Open Door for the first time in 2009, when the food pantry was in the Mount Calvary Parish House (3910 Rahn Road). Her kids needed service hours for National Honor Society and, “The Open Door was just a few blocks from my house.” Her volunteer hours were more sporadic then, as she worked full-time as a contracting officer for the US Fish & Wildlife Service, but she loved volunteering whenever she had time. Delores gravitated toward helping with special projects like re-packaging diapers and personal care items for the pantry.
Fast forward to 2020, after retiring earlier than expected, Delores was volunteering on a regular basis. That has held true over the last three years as she continues to volunteer multiple times a week and holds the 2022 record for number of volunteer hours served – a fact she didn’t even know until a couple months ago! Her main volunteer role is still helping with special projects on her main days (Tuesday and Thursday evenings if you were wondering) with her partner-in-volunteering, Penny Johnson.
“Working with Penny on special projects has definitely been a favorite memory,” Delores said. Delores, alongside Penny, has been a huge advocate and organizer for The Open Door’s diaper supply, personal care items, and birthday bags. For those who don’t know, The Open Door has a special supply of “Birthday Bags” for folks who come to the Eagan Pantry and have a child whose birthday is coming up. These special bags consist of small gifts and all the ingredients and decorations needed to make a birthday cake!
Outside of volunteering at The Open Door, Delores enjoys gardening and baking. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that she regularly volunteered for her children’s school and at her church. If you ask Delores what she loves most about volunteering at The Open Door, there are too many things for her to name just one.
However, the feeling she gets when someone requests a specific item at the Eagan Pantry, because they don’t see it on the shelves, but she can find it in the warehouse for them, that is certainly one of them. “It feels good knowing that you helped, and people are always so gracious and grateful.”
Now, if you asked Delores what The Open Door regularly needs, “Large-sized diapers!”
From the entire Open Door Team, thank you, Delores, for everything you have done and continue to do for The Open Door. We couldn’t do this work without you!