Open Arms of Minnesota

18 years of steadfast service: Lisa's volunteer story

By Ashley Hackett, Photojournalism Intern

Volunteer Lisa Genis has found a strong sense of community in her more than 18 years of involvement at Open Arms. She has seen the organization grow exponentially in size and influence and move to a larger and newer facility, yet remarks that the essence and mission has remained steadfast over the years.

“When I first started volunteering at Open Arms, we were an awful lot smaller,” Lisa said. She began working at the older facility, which was much smaller indeed – the entire building would fit into just our kitchen today!

In fact, Lisa credits the people and the community she finds here as the reason that she’s stayed here through the years. “There are people here who I’ve volunteered with since I started,” she said.“Even now that we’re much bigger, I still know most of the people I volunteer with and love seeing them every week.”

Lisa remembers breaking ground for the new facility at 2500 Bloomington as her favorite memory from her time here. “It was a big time,” she said. “It was a little scary. I remember many people were wondering if we were really going to make it through this change. But the people in charge had the vision to keep pressing forward and to make this place a reality…and they did it, and we’re here. It’s amazing.”

Lisa is glad to be part of the community of volunteers who continue to make Open Arms’ work possible. “I believe in community service, I have the time, and it’s something that I choose to do – it’s something that I can do for others,” she said.

If you have the time and the drive to serve others, consider following in Lisa’s footsteps and signing up for a volunteer shift. We’re not asking for 18 years, but just two hours in our kitchens might be enough to convince you to stick around for a few more shifts!

Thanks to dedicated volunteers like Lisa, Open Arms is able to continuing growing and nourishing more clients than ever. You can help make our mission possible, too!
Sign up for a volunteer orientation>>
Donate to support healthy meals for our clients>>
Tell us your volunteer story>>

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