Updated: Aug 12, 2020
Meet the volunteer serving with cheer and compassion at Women & Children's Free Restaurant.
RSVP Director's Foreword: One of the great privileges I enjoy as RSVP Director is the opportunity to get to know our volunteers and capture their remarkable stories of service. On a regular basis, I'll be bringing you profiles of the dedicated older adults who exemplify the values that RSVP and national service are built on.
Volunteer: Lulu Donaho
Volunteer Station: Women & Children's Free Restaurant
RSVP Member Since: 2019
Lulu has been a server at Women & Children's Free Restaurant (WCFR) in downtown Spokane since July 2019. WCFR provides free, nutritious meals to women and children living in Spokane. WCFR has served the community for over 30 years and is a vital safety net that fills nutritional gaps for women and children in need while fostering dignity and respect, both within the restaurant and in the community.
Lulu has a background working with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which she did for 27 years at Lakeland Village in Medical Lake, WA. This career prepared her well for serving and taking care of people, duties that come naturally to Lulu because, as she says, "I've got so many people in my life that are caregivers, that are volunteering people."
Lulu discovered RSVP when she heard about our volunteer fair in June 2019 through word of mouth and media advertising. Her previous volunteer experience included serving meals at Union Gospel Mission, so WCFR immediately appealed to her. Beyond that, Lulu connected with WCFR's mission on a personal level.
It's lovely, it's a wonderful program. I just love children, and of course, I've been a single mom before I got my job and I had a rough time. If I would've had something like that when I was a young mother, it would've been just lovely.
In addition to serving meals, Lulu helps with tasks like folding bibs, cleaning the dining room, and assisting with fundraisers like the annual Dinner on the Bridge event. One of Lulu's favorite parts of is the daily pre-meal orientation, where the cooks present the meal they're about to serve and have the volunteers taste everything. She is frequently impressed by the kindness, knowledge, and work ethic of the staff at WCFR.
They are just fabulous people and they work so hard . . . they are always trying to come up with new ways to help us and serve the clients.
Connecting with staff, fellow volunteers, and clients alike is a great motivator for Lulu to keep coming back. She loves hearing people's stories and has become friends with some of the other servers. WCFR frequently invites groups from local businesses and community organizations to volunteer, and one of the most memorable groups from the past year for Lulu was a group of nuns who had started a home for wayward women. She described them as "just the sweetest nuns," and their stories were a powerful reminder of what drives Lulu to dedicate herself to volunteerism.
All that stuff really touched me . . . this is why I'm serving, I want to pay back how someone helped me.