By Kelli Martin
Gayle is a self-proclaimed “people person” and her natural ability to make everyone feel special has impacted everyone at The Open Door from clients to staff to other volunteers. Volunteering at least twice a week, she has been a huge help with the Mobile Lunchbox program this summer. Gayle’s favorite role is driving the van to distribution sites and loves getting to work with new people each week.
“You certainly meet a lot of different folks, and then you get to know who’s coming especially if you commit to a certain day,” Gayle said. “And when I drive for Mobile Lunchbox, I usually am with someone new, and it’s fun to share what I get out of doing this.”
Gayle has been working hard to recruit other volunteers to come help with the program this summer as well because she wants to bring her passion for volunteering and the joy it brings her to other people in her life. She says that the lockdown last summer was particularly difficult for her because everything she does involves working directly with people, so a lot of the things she loved doing were no longer possible until she began volunteering.
“All last summer I was doing 100% Open Door things, and it really just filled my well and got me through the summer,” Gayle said.
One of her biggest goals as a volunteer is bringing The Open Door’s services to more people and bringing in more people to volunteer and donate.
“When you finish your shift, you’re going to know that you helped somebody. You need a purpose in life, and this is just something that fit me,” Gayle said. “I just felt very rewarded, being able to help people.”
Gayle’s commitment to The Open Door also goes beyond volunteering her time – she has been donating food to the organization for over ten years and has being inspired by how much The Open Door has grown from a small pantry to an organization with programs that bring food to people wherever they are and a community that truly supports its members.
“Whether you’re a volunteer helping or a client receiving, it doesn’t matter where you are in life. We all deserve the same sense of support and consideration,” Gayle said.
Gayle makes sure to active throughout the summer while she has a break from her job as an Adapted Physical Education teacher in District 196 working with kids with special needs. She loves to golf (even when it’s 95 degrees outside), go to the pool, and teach fitness classes.
Thank you for always going above and beyond as a volunteer, Gayle. We appreciate you!
By Kelli Martin