Meet a winner of the 2023 Marcus Lampros Volunteer Awards, given to eight outstanding volunteers who exemplify our values: Integrity, Respect, Inclusion, Creativity, Commitment, and Teamwork.
Kathy Hughes knows she has to pick her battles. For her, it’s hunger. “I want to help to make sure no senior goes hungry,” she said.
For years, Kathy worked as a labor organizer for health care workers as well as in home care. Once she retired, she wanted to continue making a difference in people’s lives. She knew about Meals on Wheels People because her housemate, who was homebound, relied on the meal delivery. So, in 2018, Kathy started volunteering as a greeter at Ambleside at the Gresham Senior Center close to where she lived at the time.
During the pandemic, Kathy moved to downtown Portland and started volunteering at the Elm Court Center, too. Now she spends two hours on the bus each Tuesday and Thursday getting to and from Gresham for her shifts as a greeter. On Mondays and Wednesdays, she stays downtown to check in volunteers at Elm Court and provide meals to clients who come to pick up lunch.
“Kathy goes above and beyond almost every time I have worked with her and cares deeply about MOWP’s mission and the people it serves,” wrote Elm Court Program Manager John McArdle in his nomination for Kathy.
This past fall, Kathy also solicited clothing donations and spearheaded handing out winter apparel to unhoused MOWP clients at Elm Court.
“The work I’m doing is very fulfilling,” said Kathy, who has volunteered nearly 500 hours since she started. “I enjoy the comradery I have with staff and volunteers I work with. I get to hear how people are happy with the program. Every day, they tell me: ‘Thank you for the meals. They taste great.’ It’s a real group effort.”
We need volunteers to provide critical support to the older adults we serve. Become a part of our volunteer family and help change a life, one meal and friendly connection at a time. Visit mowp.org/volunteer.