Open Arms has created a community where the volunteers receive as much from the organization as the clients served. I have been volunteering for about 8 years, mainly delivering meals. Volunteer management is excellent, well organized and personal. For the past two years, I have been volunteering with one of my various nephews most Saturday mornings. It has been a wonderful experience doing this together and has opened their world to one of service. They experience first hand how important a good meal is and the clients are appreciative and they want to help -- and that all types of people need help. The new facility is great, the farm is great, but the best is thing about Open Arms is they allow us to help make some sick person and / or their family's week just a little easier.
Open Arms of Minnesota is by far the best non-profit going...the works they do is imortant and in some case life saving. My mother is currently battling cancer and has had serious food issues, she became a client and RAVES about the food. I volunteer there a couple times a week and always have a great time with Cassie, Sara, Juan and thr entire staff. As a long time hospitality worker and a foodie, the kitchen at OA is "top shelf" I know alot of chefs who would kill to work there...but really it is the food that they provide to people who might not eat regularly that is the proof that Open Arms is the non-profit to check out.
Open Arms is just what it's name says. You arrive to help out in the kitchen, committee meeting room or delivery car & you feel others welcome you with open arms. AND the warmth, attention to volunteers, & lightheartedness is matched by the efficiency, attention to detail and planning, & teamwork that makes an organization like this do great things. It seems nothing is too big for this team of people. I am so proud to be a part of Open Arms!
I was a client served and a volunteer. In September 2006 I had signed up for orientation as a volunteer for Open Arms through a recommendation by a friend of mine. Before I was able to attend I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I called and cancelled the orientation. At that time they said that they not only served HIV, MS and ALS patients but also breast cancer patients and that my sons and I would be able to receive meals during treatment at no charge. I thought that was very generous but probably wouldn't need it. Between my first and second round of chemo I realized that it would probably be a good idea. It was such a lifesaver for me! I worked throughout my treatment except for the day of chemo and was exhausted. When I came through all that my son and I rode in the inaugural Breast Cancer Ride in which Open Arms was a beneficiary and then started volunteering in the kitchen and delivering meals. I try to get together with my two sons and deliver meals the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas as a way of giving back and showing our thanks. I am proud to be associated with Open Arms!!!!
I have done volunteer work throughout my life. When my sons were in school I served as a volunteer in various areas. The fall of 2006 I had time to volunteer for something else. A coworker suggested Open Arms and I set up an appointment for orientation. A few weeks later I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and had to call to cancel/postpone my volunteering. I was told that Open Arms now helped Breast Cancer patients too and if I was interested I could receive meals. I said thanks, but didn't think I would need it. After surgery, my treatment consisted of three months of chemotherapy followed by three months of radiation. I worked throughout my treatment(taking the days off of chemo). I became more and more exhausted--so much so that while grocery shopping at Cub someone came over to bag my groceries. At that point I knew it was time to ask for help, so I called Open Arms and they started delivering weekly meals for myself and my two sons. The volunteer would bring the meals to me at work and it was a lifesaver!!! It was hard to ask for help, but I am so glad that I did! The following year was the inaugural Breast Cancer Bike Ride. My son Matt and I participated in the ride and volunteering raising money for Open Arms. Three months later I began volunteering in the bakery and did that for a few years. For that past few years my sons Matt and Sean helped deliver meals during the holidays--it was a great family experience! My Open Arms experience has come full circle and I am so grateful and proud to have been a part of it! I guess my role is client/fundraiser/volunteer.
I've been volunteering at Open Arms for more than a decade, and I've come to find that I can rely on certain things: I will always receive a warm greeting. There will always be something meaningful to do, and that work will always have a direct and immediate impact on someone in my community. There is always a plan--whether for the day's kitchen work, the year's development goals, or the leadership direction the organization will take in the coming decade. Compassionate, energetic people will always pull together to make these plans become reality. And there will always be a place in those plans for me and for everyone else who serves and is served by the mission at Open Arms.
It doesn't matter what shape I'm in when I walk into the building. I always leave Open Arms happy and energized. The work of preparing and delivering food is easy to understand; but it is surprisingly transformative for me and other volunteers, for clients, and for the community we live in. Open Arms is a chance to spend a few hours a week acting mindfully and with specific intent to help real people. The fact that this service returns so much benefit to me is nothing short of a miracle.
I always look forward to volunteering at Open Arms. The kitchen is always full of great smelling food and baked goods. The other volunteers I work with are always fun and interesting to talk to. Most importantly, knowing that I help to make a difference - for those with serious illnesses - is what keeps me coming back again and again.
Every time I come to Open Arms, I feel a spirit that I don't feel anywhere else. The spirit of the people that are served, the spirit of the volunteers, and the spirit of the awesome staff can be felt when you walk in the door. The kitchen sings with laughter, music, and energy. Everyone is so helpful and kind. No matter how down I may be when I arrive for my shift, I leave feeling better. Thanks Open Arms!
To say I love Open Arms would be an understatement. They are truly an amazing organization built around an unstoppable volunteer base. The leadership, from the top down, is top notch. Everyone has this...well...energy. I love volunteering at Open Arms - it is a nonprofit like no other.
I am a brand new volunteer with Open Arms - I was looking for some new volunteer work that I could do in my spare time and when I have a free window of time in my day. This is it - I have gone through both orientations. I have worked in many commercial kitchens and this is truly state of the art and so well run. I have done several food deliveries already with my girlfriend. This organization runs like a well oiled wheel. I look forward to spending many happy hours volunteer for Open Arms.
I have volunteered with many organizations but I have never experienced such love, support and thankfulness for the little bit I do as I have at Open Arms. Where else would the head of general operations offer to bring me, a volunteer door holder at a fundraiser, a drink of water when it got hot? Where else would the head of volunteers make sure that every volunteer gets thanked by name and in person at the end of a huge, exhausting fundraiser? The staff attitude here is beyond anything I have ever experienced. That is just my experience. I am not even mentioning how well-run the organization is. In this economy, how could anyone but Open Arms raise $8.1 million for a new building, if not because everyone knows how great they are and believes so much in the mission?