LUM Volunteer of the Month – Kathy Coder

New Monthly Initiative to Spotlight LUM Volunteers

Kathy Coder is the February LUM Volunteer of the Month. She is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan and now lives in West Lafayette with her husband. Kathy earned a bachelor’s degree from Hanover College and a Master’s in Education from Purdue University. She retired after a remarkable 44-year career in education in the local schools—four years as a third grade teacher in Lafayette and 40 years as an elementary school counselor within the Tippecanoe School Corporation, primarily at Klondike Elementary School.  

Kathy is being honored for her work with the LUM Westside Food Pantry located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County, West Lafayette. She was selected for this honor for her exceptional commitment, passion and insightfulness. She and her fellow volunteers greet the guests at the door and connect individually with them to find out which items from the ever-changing list of products would be most helpful that week.  She says, “The people are fun to talk with and are so appreciative.  In a lot of cases, we have gotten to know the specific health needs of our guests—such as low-sodium or certain food allergies.  And one gentleman brings his little service dog, and one of our volunteers always has a special doggie treat for her.”

Kathy also enjoys the fun and camaraderie of re-connecting with other volunteers—some of whom she has known for years (and now has time for a closer connection through the regular volunteer work) and some of whom she has recently met and is enjoying getting to know better. The volunteer group enjoys some special perks. For example, the director of the Westside pantry, Larry Guentert, is also a music instructor (percussion) and sometimes brings an instrument or two to the pantry, and the volunteers enjoy trying their hands at some music in between pantry guests. And guests should not be surprised if they get serenaded if they show up on their birthday. 

Kathy says that volunteering at the LUM Westside Food Pantry is an enjoyable and meaningful way to be involved in the community and encourages others to do the same. “You might enjoy finding your little niche in one of the various LUM programs,” she encourages. “You will likely get more out of it than you put in.”

In her free time, Kathy enjoys playing the piano, gardening, traveling, going for walks, snorkeling, cooking and volunteering. Join us in congratulating Kathy Coder for being selected the LUM Volunteer of the Month for February 2023. If you would like to volunteer with LUM, check out the LUM website or call or email the LUM volunteer coordinator, Terri Anderson (volunteer@LUMserve.org | 765-423-2691)

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