Creating a Legacy of Hope
It was supposed to be a short commitment for the Bader family. Just six weekends of volunteering with a local nonprofit so that Sam could complete his volunteer hours for Hebrew School. Four years later Jim and Julie Bader, along with their children Kaela and Sam, are more deeply committed to Neighborhood House than ever!
In the four years since the Baders first volunteered to collect produce at the Farmer’s Market, a lot has changed, but their connection to the mission of Neighborhood House has only grown stronger. Julie leads a giving garden project with work colleagues at Ecolab; Sam continues to assist with produce collection efforts and is an expert vegetable sorter; Kaela spends her summers assisting in the food market; and Jim – a recent retiree – volunteers in the food market several days each week and now co-leads produce collection efforts at the Farmer’s Market in Lowertown St. Paul.
Jim and Julie are proud of their children, and believe that Kaela and Sam have grown through their volunteer experiences, becoming more confident, assertive, and insightful. “It’s great seeing your values reflected in your children, and knowing that they want to help others.” Kaela, a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Madison, has learned a lot about hunger and the importance of cultural ingredients. Helping in a food market that serves a diverse community of immigrants and refugees, Kaela is often touched by the gratitude of participants thankful for familiar foods that bring comfort and hope.
On a recent day in the food shelf, Jim was helping a woman select groceries for her family. Unemployed for nearly two years the woman shared that she had just gotten a job and was excited and grateful to have an opportunity to support her family. “When you have a moment like that, you realize the goal is to help people who need help, but ultimately you leave feeling better about the world and your place in it.”
by Anders Ringdahl-Mayland