Mr. and Mrs. Claus by December, Dedicated Volunteers All Year
Jeannie and her husband Jim were standing in line at a grocery store. Jim looked around and saw the little girl and her mom behind him and gave a warm, brief smile. The cashier began ringing up their groceries.
From behind him, he heard the little girl say, “Mama, is it going to snow?”
Her mother laughed a little. “Why, honey? It’s the middle of July!”
“Because Santa is here!” the little girl replied, looking at Jim.
It isn’t uncommon for Jim and Jeannie to get mistaken for Mr. and Mrs. Claus. With Jim’s big beard and the couple’s positive outlook on life, it was a natural transition for them to begin dressing up as Santa and Mrs. Claus at holiday events every December.
Holiday cheer or not, Jeannie and Jim are an active couple who do many things together. This year they celebrate their 50th anniversary, and they have committed to doing 50 fun or exciting things together in 2018. One of the activities Jeannie and Jim always do together is volunteer at Second Harvest Heartland every Thursday.
They generously give their time on Thursdays at our Maplewood Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) drive-through window for low-income seniors to pick up a box of highly nutritious food. Jeannie helps pass out the boxes, and Jim helps grab foods from the freezer. Jeannie says the volunteer shifts are always a lot of fun, but it’s the looks on people’s faces when she gives them food that feels so good.
“Some of the seniors just love to chat,” Jeannie said. “I think that a lot of them are lonely. I used to do Meals on Wheels. Sometimes we’re the only people these people see. They want to chat, joke around a little bit. I’m always happy to do that!”
Jeannie added that the appreciation is not hindered by language barriers. “Some of them don’t speak English, but if you just give them a kind look, a smile, they’ll take my hand, so happy.”
Jeannie was first connected with Second Harvest Heartland through Thrivent Financial’s workplace giving campaign before she retired. She helped coordinate volunteer events with Second Harvest Heartland and Thrivent Financial. When she retired two and a half years ago, she took on a much more regular volunteer shift with Jim, and they’ve been at the CSFP drive-thru ever since!
“Hunger leads so many other ills in our society,” Jeannie said. “People get sick more often, health care is more expensive. Everybody deserves good food.”
Thanks so much to Jeannie and Jim for your dedication to providing food for people who struggle to afford nutritious meals, especially for seniors, the fastest growing population who struggles with hunger. Second Harvest Heartland could not do what we do without your generous gift of time.
April is National Volunteer Month, and it’s the least Second Harvest Heartland can do to feature a few of the 31,175 people who gave their time in 2017.