Janet Larson has been a registered volunteer with Arrowhead RSVP since February 2005. Her exceptional volunteer service work goes back over 40 years before this.
Janet Larson is the Volunteer Coordinator for an all-volunteer run community food shelf. The service that the food shelf provides to the community is very important. The food shelf serves the area homeless, helps out in emergency situations, opens its doors to help families that have been victims of natural disasters or home fires, works to provide food to low income individuals and families who might be working but do not have the resources to make their food dollars stretch to the end of the month and it also provides an ongoing source of food to those that fall between the cracks and do not have adequate resources to provide for themselves.
What does Janet do as the coordinator? Janet works in the food shelf herself every week, schedules volunteers, recruits volunteers, trains volunteers, and does all the paper work for recording the hours and turning in volunteer reports. She organizes the food shelf, orders the food and other supplies that are bought so that people of different ethnic origins can be served as well as people with special diets. Janet also does the paper work, which includes regulating access to data files, completing reports according to predetermined standards and submits them according to guidelines, keeps accurate and up-to date files on the client and counsels clients on services in the community that are available to help them with their problems and needs. She also refers people to appropriate services when needed.
The Two Harbors Area Food Shelf also works with other organizations in the community to provide special holiday meals for the area needy or people who are having hardships. Janet has worked with the churches and the Salvation Army to coordinate the Thanksgiving Basket dinner distribution, a Christmas grocery distribution by helping with volunteers and resources and also a spring basket dinner about the time of the Easter holiday.
Janet Larson has also worked on fund raising for the food shelf, since it is run on the donations that are received from the public. This last spring, she had an area craft sale, where the venders’ table payments were donated to the food shelf. People also brought in food or cash donations and were given a goody bag of surprises from donations that she had gotten from area businesses. Janet also coordinates all of the other fund raising activities that are done and does public relations letters, articles for newspapers and public speaking.
The MAC and NAPS programs are and extra extension of the local food shelf and she works on these and submits paper work. The MAC program gives food to families that are income eligible and have children less than six years of age. The NAPS program serves our seniors with a box of food each month.
Janet also works with the area Extension Food program to promote healthy eating. Clients are given recipes, menus and food preparation instructions and the ingredients for recipes on a food shelf day. An Extension worker often prepares a sample dish of a recipe and is available to talk to people about food related topics. This is also always done at the holiday basket giveaways.
Janet is very innovative. If she isn’t working at the food shelf, you can find her out in the community as “Rosy the Clown: volunteering for special events at Head Start, a Senior citizens event, or a community event like an ice cream social. Janet has the gift of making people happy, taking the stress out of situations and making people feel valued and comfortable.