When the Allina nursing strike began on Labor Day, Abbott Northwestern nurse Tois Smith decided to keep busy. A week after the strike began, she walked through the doors of Open Arms to attend a volunteer orientation.
“Prior to the strike, I’ve been trying to find time to search for opportunities to volunteer,” said Tois. Through a friend, she heard about Open Arms and decided to put her time to good use nourishing people living with life-threatening illnesses. “I liked the simple but profound notion of OAM: people who are sick should not be without food,” she noted.
Tois quickly signed up for shift after shift to maximize her time away from the hospital. Staff were delighted to see her smiling face nearly every day. During the six-week strike, she put in more than 30 hours of volunteer time at Open Arms, including 17 meal delivery routes.
“It may sound crazy from someone like me who dislikes driving more than 10 minutes,” Tois said, “but I enjoy delivering meals throughout various neighborhoods to those in need of good nutrition.”
After the strike ended and she went back to work, Tois continued to make volunteering a priority. She’s thankful for the ongoing chance to deliver meals to Open Arms clients throughout the community nearly every week. She remarked, “The most positive thing for me that came of the strike was finding a great volunteer organization.”
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