At Preble Street, a wellspring of institutional knowledge lives and breathes in the form of volunteers. The Volunteer of the Month for August, Kristin Lindvall, has been volunteering at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen longer than many staff members have been working there. Her kindness towards staff and clients, her endless repertoire of delicious meals, and her voracious work ethic make Kristin one of the most integral and reliable Preble Street volunteers.
Many kitchen staff remember when she taught them how to use the industrial equipment for the first time. One says, “When I started working here, I knew how to cook, but it was Kristin who taught me how to make complicated and delicious meals for 250 people with the ever-changing and limited pantry options we have.”
Kristin’s approach to the people we serve is both empathetic and realistic—being familiar with many of the specific obstacles facing clients at Preble Street informs the work of all staff and volunteers. She is honest and realistic with individuals, and about the broader issues facing our society. Solutions to problems with housing, mental health, and food insecurity are always at the forefront of her mind, and she reminds us all to remain compassionate towards people who are struggling. “She knows many of our clients and treats everyone with dignity and respect,” says a coworker.
Kristin also reminds staff and volunteers to take care of themselves by modeling her own self care. She is excellent about communicating to staff when she needs to take a break. Kristin reminds us all that we cannot serve from an empty cup, and that taking time to take care of ourselves is just as important to our work as the chopping of veggies, the bagging of lunches, and the serving of meals.
As one staff member put it so beautifully, “Kristin is the glue that holds us all together.” Thank you, Kristin, for teaching us all to make delicious food, to lead with grace, and to take care of others by taking care of ourselves.