by Allison Rossi Utter, Volunteer & Community Outreach Manager
Karen Lawrence is being honored as November’s Volunteer of the Month for her work as a Meals on Wheels driver. Karen started volunteering with her husband, Jim. in the Fall of 2010. Karen explained, “Jim was forced to retire early due to health reasons. He did not want to sit around so he answered the call to become a Meals on Wheels driver. He had been doing the Mills route about 2 years before I joined him. He had to stop driving and that is when I stepped in to help.” She would drive and he would deliver the meals to the clients. Karen described herself as an introvert. She says, “Volunteering helps me too. It gets me out talking to people.” Karen continued driving for Meals on Wheels even after her husband passed. She has only ever delivered the Mills route and does so every Wednesday. Elizabeth Baldwin, Nutrition Systems Coordinator says, “Karen is very dependable and easy going.” Michele Burkett, Food Service Coordinator says, “Karen is genuinely not only dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive a good hot meal but she is very kind and personable. She has a very heartfelt connection with the clients. She will even bring her grandchildren with her to do the route from time to time. She has been willing to dredge through snow and rain on some hard to maneuver back roads in the Mills area. She is simply amazing!”
Karen was born and raised in the Kalamazoo area. She moved to Midland for Jim’s job in 1992. Karen worked in daycares. She and Jim have one daughter and 4 grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys watching her grandson play hockey and reading, especially romance novels or anything with a happy ending. When asked how she would encourage others to volunteer, she answers, “Just do it! You will love it! The clients are so nice and grateful.”
Meals on Wheels helps older adults live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes by providing nutritious, well-balanced meals. Clients find comfort in knowing that a good meal and a friendly face will come with each visit. Every Meals on Wheels client is connected with a Care Coordinator. A Care Coordinator works in partnership with the older adult and their family to take the guesswork out of identifying needs and coordinating services such as Meals on Wheels or any of the other wonderful services that we offer. If you are interested in these services or others that we offer, please call Senior Services at (989) 633-3700. If you are interested in becoming a Meals on Wheels driver – one of the MOST rewarding volunteer experiences ever – call Allison at (989) 633-3741!
Thank you for your years of service Karen and congratulations on being chosen as the Volunteer of the Month!