Open Arms of Minnesota

Our Clients, In Focus: Kathleen

Kathleen, a client in Richfield, MN.

Giving Back, A Client's Perspective

By: Kathleen, an Open Arms client in Richfield, Minn. | April 2024

Hello!  My name is Kathleen Brogan and I have been asked to share my Open Arms Minnesota (OAM) involvement. You probably share my passion and consider yourself a super fan.

Years ago, I learned about OAM. Its mission and values spoke to my heart but did not immediately nudge me to add it to my volunteer gigs. Like many folks, I discerned the direction of my life during the pandemic. c: I must volunteer as an OAM meals’ driver. I could safely do that and get out of the joy-sucking “stay home, stay safe” mandates.

Fast-forward to summer 2023 when I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis or MS. Quite a rarity for being in my late 60s. Yep, I have been a late bloomer on many fronts, but this tops them all.

This life-changing news forced me to stop many activities I loved. OAM was not going to be one of them! Instead, I transitioned my role from driver to writer of OAM clients’ stories.  Although I miss seeing “my peeps” each week, I know that dedicated drivers continue the tradition of spreading hope, healing meals and a wee bit of happiness!

You may wonder how I am doing. In one word: hopeful! Yes, I have those woe-is-me, pity party moments sprinkled with gob smacking shock (Why me? Why now? What caused this?), sadness and worry about the future. However, I choose hope over fear. The mantra of my MS journey is to stay true to my blood type which is B positive.

I am incredibly blessed to have so many loving and encouraging supporters on #TeamKathleen. Additionally, the smallest acts of kind strangers give me booster shots of joy. Along with my rock star medical team, OAM is a key champion for my besting the disease by following MS nutritional mandates in an “oh-so-tasty-and-energy-boosting” way.

I now live a life that is more intentional and happier despite my disability. I consider myself differently abled, no longer to do some physical activities but more energized to do what I love best. I now focus more on growing my resume writing business, diving into books from our five-star libraries (been a library lover since I was a kiddo) and moving in the next year or so.

My days are full of twice-daily, at-home PT; 40-50 minutes of different exercises; work; social engagement; savory OAM meals; more-sleep-and-pillow-time: YES, please! Oh yeah, I must also pray in my Lazy Girl chair, do Wordle and Connections (fueled by caffeine inspiration) and watch Jeopardy.

Why I embrace OAM:

  • Joy abounds and is part of every OAM experience. That is a huge accomplishment as the organization has so many moving parts. They are the dream team of the highest degree!
  • OAM is uber-responsible in spending its donations to get the “biggest bang for their buck.” ranks them at 96% effectiveness for funds going to the programs and clients they serve.
  • Meals are medicine that help folks on their journeys. Bonus: They take away the time and energy-consuming burdens of meal planning, shopping, chopping, cooking, etc.
  • Its inclusion of feeding caregivers. If you have ever been a caregiver, you realize the job is a labor of love, one heavy on the labor. Kudos to OAM for extending its TLC reach … worthy of mega hugs and high-fives!
  • It serves isolated communities dealing with new medical responsibilities which are so daunting at first, daily must-dos, huge lifestyle changes and so much more.
  • They welcome your questions and respond immediately. It doesn’t matter if it involves Client Services, Nutrition Services or ANY issue. (Who does that anymore?)
  • OAM never fails to serve up its best, every day since its launch in 1986.
  • Clients constantly mention their ginormous gratitude at every delivery.

Thank you for supporting OAM and making its mission to touch thousands of lives with the gifts of healthy food, positivity and a constant message of “you’ve-got-this!” We appreciate your generosity and willingness to play a key role in its legacy of love.  

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