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September 20, 2021

WSK Volunteer Spotlight – Suzanne Olivier

Volunteer Suzanne Olivier showcased in the Volunteer Spotlight

Suzanne Olivier in the Volunteer SpotlightWeekend Survival Kits is thrilled to place the WSK  Volunteer Spotlight on Suzanne Olivier. Her dedication and willingness to take on any task was such a gift to our organization. You can learn more about Suzanne and her commitment to volunteering in the Greater Lansing area by learning how she began her “volunteer career” after retirement.

Suzanne Olivier had a fulfilling 33-year career with the State of Michigan, retiring as an IT Director in March of 2011.  “It was a demanding job, and both interesting and challenging,” shared Suzanne.  She knew that she wanted to focus her time on meaningful activities after retirement.  “I was a longtime supporter of local charities and nonprofits and wanted to find a role where I could share my professional skill set.”  A co-worker friend connected her to Haven House, where Suzanne served a 3-year term on the Board of Directors.  Not only did Haven House provide shelter and support for families, at that time it also served as a food pantry for Ingham County, including MSU students.   Volunteering at that time with Greater Lansing Food Bank also provided Suzanne the insight into how devastating food insecurity can be.

“More recently, I began searching on Volunteermatch.org to find an opportunity with an organization which was committed to meeting the needs of families in our local communities.  It wasn’t long before I found Weekend Survival Kits and attended the food kit packing sessions being held at Okemos Community Church and the Hill Center.”

“I was impressed by the mission of Weekend Survival Kits to provide food on the weekends to children in grades K-5 who may otherwise go hungry because of food scarcity.  Investing in the education of children is so important.  Helping them succeed by making sure hunger is not an obstacle to learning is a great idea!”

Suzanne Olivier WSK Special Volunteer Delivering Kits“I had supported WSK by packing kits and volunteered and participated in a couple of the annual WSK Hunger Heroes Race fund-raisers.  In 2020, I connected with Kyla Parkllan, the new Director of Mid-Michigan Operations for WSK, and told her I was willing to support the organization in any way I could.  Adding the role of delivering the food kits to the Gier Elementary School during the pandemic was so fulfilling.  I knew how hard kids were working on their schoolwork despite the challenges of the pandemic.  I also looked forward to speaking with the hardworking staff at Gier and admired the dedication to feeding families in that community.”

“At each kit pickup, I saw Jeff Gorsline in action.  As the founder of Weekend Survival Kits, he modeled that no task was too small for him, and it was clear to me that his heart was fully behind the WSK mission.  Over the years the phrase:  What are you doing to make things better?  has resonated with me….  volunteering with Weekend Survival Kits has certainly afforded me that opportunity. “

Editor’s Note:   Not only does Suzanne give of her time and talent, she also is very generous financially. Recently, she participated in the 2021 Hunger Heroes Race and raised $390 by creating her own fundraiser for the 5K.  We can’t say loud enough or often enough how deeply grateful we are for volunteers like Suzanne!  We are so happy to honor Suzanne Olivier in our Volunteer Spotlight!