Family Celebrates 5 Years of Volunteering


July 9, 2019 By: Tina Mortimer and Abigail Reeth Category: Volunteer

Kathy Schmidt’s first volunteer experience began just before a family tragedy. A month after she and a small group of family members volunteered at Second Harvest Heartland to sort and pack food, Kathy’s father passed away unexpectedly. With the memory of the volunteer experience still fresh in their minds, the Schmidt family decided to donate to Second Harvest Heartland. Shortly thereafter, a new tradition was born—one that has brought her family even closer together. 

“After my father’s service we were opening gifts,” Kathy explained, “several people had given us money to put toward a charity of our choosing. Since we enjoyed our first volunteer session [with Second Harvest Heartland] so much, we decided to bring in my Mom and see if she wanted to donate the money to Second Harvest Heartland. She made the donation and we all started coming regularly every month after that.” 

Five years later, the Schmidt family is still volunteering on the third Thursday of every month. Each month, Kathy books a session for herself and anywhere from 10 to 28 family members and close friends This multigenerational group spans a wide age range from 15-84 years old. Most come from the Minneapolis area, but some travel from Wisconsin. 

“Being together as a group and knowing that you can have fun and work hard at the same time is the best part,” Kathy shared.

The volunteer sessions are one way that the Schmidt family stays connected. “We go out for dinner after each session and get to enjoy each other’s company,” Kathy said. While the family enjoys eating out and spending time together, Kathy said, “Our favorite part of volunteering each month is knowing how hard we work and feeling good about it.”

Over the years, the Schmidts have challenged themselves to work harder and do more with every session. “We always try to do better each month and get more done while doing a good job,” Kathy said. “We can get a bit competitive, but only because we enjoy working hard for a good cause.”

While it’s work, Kathy admits that her family gets as much out of volunteering as it puts in.

“Helping people, especially those in our community, is very satisfying and makes everyone in our group thankful for what we have in our lives and how fortunate we are,” Kathy noted. “I think it brings us closer as a group working for something so meaningful and that can help so many.”

Volunteer This Summer!

Second Harvest Heartland offers volunteer opportunities to pack fresh produce this summer starting now! It’s the perfect summer activity and a great opportunity to bond with family and friends. Check out our calendar and register today!



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