Volunteer Spotlight: Jean Schultz at LOEL Senior Center
To make a difference every movement needs a tribe of supporters, and that’s exactly what volunteers are. Volunteers are the ones who make a big difference by taking care of all those humble, everyday details we take for granted that help an organization move forward and continue to make big impacts. They make the little things count. This publication’s volunteer spotlight is on Jean Schultz. She’s one of those volunteers who does a lot of little things that make a huge impact. I know Jean because when I was growing up our church would serve people at the Salvation Army once a month. Jean was always a staple in the kitchen, helping us prepare the food and keeping the kitchen clean for the next group of users, and I see her still doing that for the youth groups today. When I reached out to the LOEL to ask them if they had a volunteer they would like to recognize, and they said Jean, I was surprised to find out she’s doing little things like this all around town!
I was excited that LOEL wanted to focus on Jean because I like that she takes the skills she has and does so much with them. It’s an example that to make a huge difference for causes you’re passionate about, all you need to do is show up, ready to help. Whatever gift you have to share is exactly what somebody else needs, and by simply showing up, you make a big difference.
If you’re not already familiar with the LOEL Center in Lodi (pronounced “low-el” for LOdi ELderly), it’s Lodi’s community center for seniors. The LOEL does a lot (seemingly everything), and much of what they do boils down to serving the really basic human need to connect with others and continue meaningful relationships as people enter a new stage of life. According to Tracy Williams, the CEO, LOEL is able to do what they do thanks to their amazing volunteer and donor base. A few of these people, like this volunteer, are what Tracy refers to as “triple threats.” LOEL serves lunches every day at a really affordable price, which is important since most seniors are on fixed incomes. Jean has been volunteering for 20 years now, serving those meals.
“Jean is what you call a dedicated volunteer and a great person,” says Tracy. “Jean is a triple threat for us here at LOEL and we are deeply thankful for that! Jean not only volunteers for us monthly, but she attends a lot of our activities and services – movie days/nights, lunch program, bunko, just to name a few. Then she is also a donor – I believe Jean realizes how important LOEL is to other seniors and supports as a financial donor. Being non-profit, every donation small, medium, or large means the world to LOEL and helps us continue to move our mission forward”
“I think the LOEL is wonderful,” shared Jean. “I’ve been going over there for 20 years. I started serving there for a program through the Lodi Women’s Club. Three or four of us would go over there and serve at least once a month, sometimes twice a month. I really wanted to get involved with that because I felt it was something I could do, so I did!” she laughed. “Now I serve lunch. Once a month or twice a month or as needed. It just depends. We do it the 3rd Friday of every month and if there’s a 5th, we do it the 5th Friday of every month.”
When I asked her why she’s continued to volunteer there for so long, Jean said it’s about the relationships. “The LOEL is special. The people who run it, everybody loves Tracy and Marj. It’s such a special place for people to go to socialize and eat a wonderful meal and David is a wonderful, wonderful chef.”
“I like to go to the movies and play bunco there, and go there for lunch once in a while,” said Jean.”What’s your favorite meal?” I asked. “When they have chicken fried steak!” Jean laughed. “That’s when me and my neighbor go. That’s our favorite. And liver and onions! But mostly we go for the chicken fried steak.”
“What do you want people to know about the LOEL?” I asked Jean. “It [the LOEL] is just a great place to go,” she shared. “More people should take advantage of it. You get a great meal for a reasonable price and the people that attend are very nice. You meat a lot of new people. It’s just a really good place.”
You heard it here. Great chicken fried steaks and some of the best food servers around! Thank you to Jean, and all volunteers, who help support Lodi’s great organizations. Every volunteer helps, and the LOEL is very thankful “for all the volunteers and triple threats we have that help us achieve our goal in making a difference in our senior lives.”
If you’re a nonprofit and would like to highlight one of you volunteers in the next publication, please contact me at www.goodnewslodilive.com/good-news-tips