Tell us about yourself, your family, and your background. My husband, Bill, and I have been St Francis parishioners since 1979. We met in IL, were married in KY in 1975, and moved to Texas four years later. Our two boys and three grandchildren live in Kansas. Bill is a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus, and I am a “Lady Knight.” Since we are both retired now, we have lots of time to work and enjoy the many KofC projects together.

What do you do for Outreach? I’ve been volunteering at our thrift store for more than 27 years. When I first started, we were a St. Vincent de Paul Society and were located in half of what is now the KofC building. It was cozy, but we managed to help a lot of people there. I used to work three or four days a week since we had fewer volunteers. Now Tuesday is my “Outreach Day.” Over the years my duties have included sorting and pricing the thrift store items,  stocking the pantry, and filling food orders, Thanksgiving baskets and our Christmas Angel Tree Program. 

What is a favorite memory from Outreach? Our work with the local nursing home. We used to host Christmas, Halloween, and summer luau parties for the residents. We had a fashion show each year, where we would bring our “resident models” complete outfits (clothes, jewelry, shoes, accessories, etc.) and escorted them as they walked our “red carpet” runway. Then Outreach supplied all of the residents with clothes. This brought so much joy and excitement to the residents and really made them feel loved.

Is there a time you felt God working through your work at Outreach? One year before Thanksgiving I saw a lady looking at clothes. She had her little boy with her and I asked him if he was ready to have a big turkey for Thanksgiving. The mother said that they couldn’t buy a turkey as she was out of work and taking care of her father who had cancer. She knew nothing about the assistance we could give her. So I got her food and other assistance, and we signed them up for Christmas gifts, etc. They were so overwhelmed and grateful. If God hadn’t told me to ask that little boy about his turkey dinner, we never would have known about their need. 

Anything you would want our parishioners to know about Outreach? Our Thrift Store is open to the public. All of the money we receive through our sales goes directly to help those in need. The more we sell, the more assistance we will be able to give out. We need more parishioners to shop in our store. Our prices are the best bargain in town! 

How has volunteering at Outreach affected you? Outreach is a big part of my life. It is so rewarding to be able to help others and make a positive difference in their lives. God wants us to help our neighbors and, by doing so, I have received so much joy.

This Volunteer Spotlight was of Carol Brown and published in the December issue of the St. Francis Grapevine.