Volunteer Spotlight: Linda Luedtke
April is National Volunteer Month and we are so excited to highlight our fantastic volunteers and thank them for their efforts all year long. Today we are shining the spotlight on Linda Luedtke, a volunteer at The Salvation Army of Manitowoc County since 2006. Learn more about Linda's experience volunteering below!
How long have you been a salvation army volunteer?
I began volunteering in September 2006 when I became a member of the advisory board. Initially, I rang bells and helped briefly with Coats for Kids and the Christmas programs. My time was limited as I was working full time as a school counselor, coaching, and an advisor for multiple clubs at school including National Honor Society (NHS). Since then, that chapter of NHS has made bell ringing a requirement of membership. I retired from the school five years ago and since then have been able to do more volunteering.
Why did you decide to volunteer with the salvation army?
I decided to volunteer for two reasons. First, I was a school counselor and I was a social worker for the county. When there was nowhere else to turn for my clients or students, The Salvation Army was always there to help in numerous ways. Also, when my children were young, my husband lost his job and I was working part-time while raising four children. I don't know who it was, but someone blessed our family with wonderful Christmas gifts. Helping at Christmas with The Salvation Army now is my way of paying it forward.
What events and programs have you volunteered for within the salvation army?
I have helped with Prison After Care, Christmas Toy Shop, bell ringing, the Bike-A-Thon we had in the past, Coats for Kids, at our medical clinic when we had one in the past, and at our Food Pantry. I have also coordinated the Christmas Giving Tree at my parish for more than 35 years. I don't remember when we started coordinating with The Salvation Army, but it has been more than 15 years.
What is your favorite part about volunteering with the salvation army?
While I have everything I need and so much more, I have some family members that need some extra help, so I cannot always make the kind of financial donation to The Salvation Army I would like, but I can give of my time and talent that God has blessed me with.
What has been your favorite experience while volunteering with the salvation army?
I guess my favorite experience is our Christmas Giving Tree as I love everything about Christmas. But being able to help families enjoy Christmas and often getting gifts they really need is what I feel is the true meaning of Christmas.