Volunteer Appreciation: The Samuelson Family

Volunteers make a world of difference!

The mission of Resource Center could not be achieved without our volunteers. The talents, skills, time and energy donated by our volunteers are a valued resource.

Each year, more than 1,200 dedicated volunteers help the Center serve the LGBTQ and HIV communities in North Texas. Volunteers donate their timer by serving hot meals, answering telephones, stocking shelves, and helping at fundraising events.

We talked to Karen Samuelson who volunteers with her sons Eric and Brett at the Center’s Health Campus in the Nutrition program. Here’s what she has to say about her experience serving others at the Center:

Karen, why did you choose to volunteer at Resource Center? “I spent 25 years with Sabre and Travelocity in the travel industry. It was my first deep exposure to the LGBTQ community. Although I am admittedly an outsider, I was there as AIDS began to take its toll on the community and saw it devastate people near me. I formed deep friendships with people who I would likely never have known. And so my awareness of the beauty and challenges of my friends expanded my reality.

Several years ago I began volunteering at the Nelson-Tebedo location and loved being even the tiniest part of the invaluable service provided by that amazing group of humans. I was there for a couple of years until my work travel schedule made me a rather undependable, lousy volunteer. Although I do hope my legacy of the condom sorting boxes lives on! So when I heard there was an opportunity to volunteer with another service provided by Resource Center I jumped! And I LOVE the people here at the pantry. What happens here every day makes a difference to so many people. I’m honored they let me show up to help now and again.”

What is your motivation and why during a pandemic? “When people need help the most you step up, not back. Tough times are not made any easier by lack of access to food. The work here is meaningful. I am such a fan of all of the work and services provided by the Center and where there is a place to lend my hands I’m all in.”

What inspired your family to volunteer? “I am delighted beyond measure that both of my grown children have embraced the opportunities here at the Food Pantry to lend their time and muscle. We’ve always been a family of giving back, sharing what we have, contributing a little muscle – and squeezing it in where we can. Both of my boys happened to be at places in their lives where they have some time to share and both were excited to join me at the Pantry! For me, it has been the coolest thing ever! I get to watch them work hard and be part of a team on the move with a purpose! I love hearing people holler, ‘Where’s Brett? Anyone see Eric?’ It’s how I know they feel like I do – these are good people to know, that it’s good work with a great purpose. And we all always feel so welcome by the Pantry family.” 

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about volunteering? “What are you waiting for?! Hard work that makes a difference is soul-cleansing. You don’t worry about your own problems because you are too busy trying to figure out if there are more vegetables, or how to fit another patient in, or finding another coat to distribute. Volunteering occupies your heart, your head, and your hands all at the same time. It’s good to be needed, so get after it!”

The Center has volunteer opportunities for individuals, as well as community, corporate, church and school groups. Our volunteer coordinator can work with you to organize a volunteer project that fits your group’s needs. Click below to donate your time to the Center and make a world of difference for the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities we serve!

Leave a Reply