For Care Manager Kelley Horner, volunteerism and work are one and the same. For the past year, Kelley has been volunteering regularly—with Nonotuck’s approval, during work hours—at the St. Anne's Human Services Food Pantry in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts. While the work is an opportunity to promote Nonotuck in the community, she estimates that the vast majority of her time there is spent volunteering.
Kelley saw an opportunity when the food pantry opened in place of a thrift store she had long frequented. “I used to go to a thrift store at the church, and it was awesome. It closed due to Covid and has since become a food pantry.” she says. “I went there one day and ran into an old friend who was running it. She asked if I was interested in helping out. At first I told her I couldn’t because of work. After talking with her, we thought maybe we could brainstorm and get the word out as to what I do.”
A proposal outlining her volunteer work that was written and subsequently approved by her Program Director and Executive Vice President of Operations Kitty Curtin. Two Mondays per month, Kelley helps out at the food pantry, mostly bringing bags of food to cars. She says that the gratitude she sees from the people she’s helping is the highlight of her work there. “The appreciation people have…it’s an eye opener, when you walk out to the parking lot with people's stuff,” she says. “They serve over 100 families and it keeps growing.”
Nonotuck President/CEO George H. Fleischner says Kelley’s work in the community is right in line with the organization’s values. “I always felt that non-profit organizations owe their communities. Our financial support comes from taxpayer dollars and then we ask for further support through gifts and donations,” he says. “For Nonotuck, I thought that maybe we could say thank you for this generosity by volunteering our time and using our skills to support the businesses, or schools, or youth sports in our community. It’s the least we can do.”
Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.