Volunteer Spotlight: Meet Kal

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Blog, Senior Community Meals, Volunteers | 0 comments

In this month’s volunteer spotlight, we’re meeting Senior Meal volunteer Kal and learning how he has used volunteering as a tool for managing his mental health. We’re grateful to Kal for sharing his story with us, and for allowing us to share his experience with others.

Kal began volunteering at HIP in August 2022 as a way to confront a particularly bad bout of anxiety and depression, conditions that he has battled with his whole life. He describes how “I was doing a work from home job and the work from home nature of it was kind of cushy, but it also made me feel very isolated…I knew that I needed to see myself engaging with my community and helping people.”

After a quick Google search he found HIP and immediately identified with the mission. “In the 21st century there’s just no reason for anybody to go hungry under any circumstance,” he explains. Kal shared that at his first shift serving meals at the Community Center, “I was so nervous…because I was connecting with people for the first time in a really long time.” But as he continued coming back, he developed connections with other volunteers and program staff, and now his shifts at the Community Center are highlights of his week.

Kal has spent many years studying psychology and knows that when his mental health worsens, his brain needs to see himself engaging directly with a problem. In addition, he knows that cultivating in-person human connections is extremely important, because “the nature of living in the 21st century is that it’s an incredibly ironically isolating experience.” Thinking back to some of his favorite moments volunteering, what stands out for Kal are the meaningful conversations that he has had with his fellow team members as they worked. He describes how after his volunteer shifts, he can feel how his mental health has improved because he knows that he spent time doing something meaningful with people he cares about.

Kal is an incredible asset to the Senior Meal team. He is a hard worker and a wonderful listener, and his fellow team members are drawn to his kindness and candidness. When not at HIP or spending time with his fiancé, Kal also volunteers as a Seattle Urban Nature (SUN) Guide, where he leads field trips for students and families through Seattle parklands and promotes nature conservation.

Written by hungerintervention

February 27, 2023

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