Open Arms of Minnesota

Volunteer Appreciation Week: Pete Takes a Look Back

By Pete Fischer, Volunteer Services Coordinator

When I think back to when I first started as a volunteer coordinator at Open Arms a lot has changed…

I started when Open Arms first began running its capital campaign to build our current building. I was a fresh-out-of-college employee trying to learn the culture of Open Arms and figure out where I was sending my volunteers. Back then, everyone sat in cubicles so close together that it felt like being crammed into a sardine can.

When I started, we served 380 clients. Back then, we only had about 15-18 delivery routes Monday through Friday. The first volunteer shift started at 9 a.m., and only 3-5 volunteers would volunteer per shift. I can recall a group of women who volunteered Tuesday mornings that I was terrified of!

As days have turned into years, my how things have changed! Today we serve 800 clients a week and our first volunteer shift starts at 7:30 a.m.! Delivery has expanded onto Saturdays, and a typical day consists of 25-30 routes. We have an organic farm, complete with its own volunteer shifts. Oh, and those women still volunteer on Tuesday mornings — and have become some of my closest friends.

As I think about where we have come as an organization and where we are going, I can’t help but think about the volunteers that make our vision possible. There is not enough coffee, donuts, gas money and thank you cards to tell you how much we appreciate the work you do for us. Thank you, volunteers, for everything you give us each and every day!

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