Kathy Krause grew up on a farm in Waupaca County and understands the value of hard work. So, it’s no surprise that she was awarded the Schreiber Heart of Gold Lifetime Achievement award that is given to an individual whose lifetime of service exemplifies notable achievement in serving the community.
The AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer with Volunteer Fox Cities’ Retired & Senior Volunteer 55+ Program was nominated by Dustin Herrmann, the volunteer engagement coordinator for Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin where she volunteers regularly.
“Kathy has been an integral part of our volunteer program for years and quickly stood out as a leader,” Herrmann said. “In addition to working with volunteers, behind the scenes Kathy has helped increase our efficiency through new training materials, procedures, setups and more. She always meets her work with a vigor and intensity that is an inspiration to those around her.”
Before the pandemic, she volunteered at the Appleton food bank three to four times a week, leading corporate, community and school group volunteers. Throughout the pandemic she volunteers two days a week in a variety of roles, including distributing food in conjunction with the USDA food distribution program in Appleton and Oshkosh. Currently, in addition to helping with food sorts, she is helping to convert pizza labels into a new computer software program.
Krause, a retired law firm administrator, likes the variety.
“Sometimes I go there with a plan to help with the label conversion, but some kind of a food-sort takes priority,” she said. “My previous job was a desk job and the last thing I want to do is sit. I’d rather be active.”
Her desire to be active also brought her to Habitat for Humanity, where she is a member of the Senior Crew. This group of individuals gives their time to Habitat on a regularly scheduled basis.
She is looking forward to resuming her tutoring role this fall in United for Reading Success at Horizons Elementary School.
“I like working with the little kids,” she said. “We read to them and work on their spelling, then they read to you. Sometimes that’s the only time someone pays attention to them. It’s kind of like having a grandchild again. You hear about what they are going to dress up as for Halloween. They tell me their birthday is coming up and you can see the progress they are making.”
Krause plays French horn and has been a member of the Kimberly Community Band for 35 years, and currently serves on its board. She also is involved with the spiritual care ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Appleton.
Krause explained that the benefits she receives by volunteering outweigh the service she is providing.
“During COVID, it was hard being stuck at home,” she said. “Volunteering helps to keep me social – it’s my way to keep my stress level down.”
- By Jan Sommerfeld, RSVP director