Blue Earth County Program Coordinator

Audience members awed at the stories told by Foster Grandparent, Virginia McNear and RSVP Volunteer, Clara Jean Leiferman at a Senior Corps Open House in Blue Earth County, Tuesday, May 8th. The celebration, a collaborative effort by Lutherna Social Services FGP/SCP Program Coordinator Gail Sumerfelt and Catholic Charities' RSVP Program Coordinator Lora Brady, was held in Mankato, with many guests, goodies, and, of course, the stories. Both volunteers gave accounts of their service years. Virginia "Ginny" has been with Foster Grandparents since 1998, and shared compelling accounts of her interactions with young students and their quips of innocense. She said to the audience, "When I'm done with my story, I will have made you laugh, made you cry, and surprise you." And she did. One child had asked how old she was and when she said "Older than dirt," he told her that was impossible because God created dirt a really long time ago. Ginny is called "Grammy" by her kids, and has dedicated her life to the Foster Grandparent porgram in St. Peter, MN.
Clara Jean, mostly called C.J., talked of her years of service and her enjoyment as a line dancer, teaching other retirees the dances and perfomring them for special community groups. People were most amazed, however, by her volunteer work at the Food For All in Mankato. This food distribution happens every second Saturday, serving hundreds of needy individuals and families. Most all the volunteers are between 55 and 90. They unpack a semi truck of food, unload the crates, orgnaize it all on talbe s they have set up in a warehouse, and then distribute it wihtin 2 1/2 hours. It is quite amazing, C.J. said to the group, watching the work of the volunteers and seeing all the food being given out.In addition, C.J. gives her time at the MRCI Thrift Store in Mankato.
All in all, the Seniro Corps event went off wonderfully, and community members witnessed the beauty of these programs merely by the words of those who make it happen every day. lunteers are about - what they bring to the table, sos to speak. It wass a rewarding day.

-Lora Brady