One of our positively stellar volunteers–someone who inspires you to want to write about them–clearly doesn’t do it for the notoriety. She’s definitely an “out of the spotlight” kind of person who I’m sure would never agree to being made a fuss over via blog post. So instead of asking her permission (just her forgiveness maybe), I’ve opted to share her story without sharing her identity. Some of you who know Common Goods well enough and cannot possibly be fooled will notice that I’ve taken more than a few liberties with some of the details, but the essence of this story is absolutely true….
It all started in 2009 when Common Goods was just getting up and running. Our volunteer (we’ll call her Mary) and her husband Don, both having recently retired, moved into the Lakes area from St. Paul. Mary, an avid golfer, had first been introduced to Bridges of Hope through our spring fundraiser–a golf tournament hosted by Grand View Lodge. She was inspired, hearing stories of families touched by Bridges, and made a point to introduce herself to the staff, asking about how she could become involved with the organization. Mary was delighted to learn about the plans to launch Common Goods, and throughout the summer she stayed in touch with the staff at Bridges of Hope about the progress of the store. In August, just prior to opening, Mary and Don stopped in at Common Goods to donate several boxes of clothing and housewares. Don joked with the staff about how glad he was to not be needing any of those ties or button-down shirts anymore.
Common Goods opened in September 2009, and the following week Mary signed on for her very first volunteer shift. And then she signed up to volunteer again the next week. And the one after that. And the one after that. And she soon became known as our Wednesday Morning Rockstar, with her own set of weekly tasks and projects.
Now, 100 weeks into the history of Common Goods, Mary has logged a total of 90 shifts–meaning she has been volunteering at the store for nearly every week of its existence! Don also comes in with Mary about once a month, helping with some of the light carpentry and repair projects around Common Goods. Together, the couple has given a (still increasing) total of over 350 hours at the store–Rockstar caliber indeed!
But that’s not really Mary at all. She doesn’t like to have the spotlight shone on her as the center of attention; she doesn’t even want her picture taken when she’s volunteering at Common Goods. Don’t misunderstand: it’s not that Mary is quiet or shy–she just likes to come in, one morning each week, and do her thing–which is volunteering. Recently we were able to wrestle out of Mary why she has chosen to come in week after week: she said that she just likes being engaged with a nonprofit in a tangible way and enjoys the fun and friendly atmosphere at Common Goods.
A seemingly ordinary, simple answer, perhaps; but every week, in her very ordinary, simple way, Mary continues to make an extraordinary impact for families in the Lakes Area. And that is worth shining the spotlight on, if even for just a moment.
So thanks, Mary and Don. We would definitely be a different organization today without your hard work and dedication.
Interested in volunteering at Common Goods–and maybe even getting the chance to meet the now-famous “Mary”? Visit our website for details on how you can be involved.