Mary Keidle makes the most of her retirement – hiking, kayaking, fishing, woodworking, gardening, playing the hand bells at church, and enjoying hot air balloon rides. She even learned the Japanese art form of kintsugi during her retirement. Kintsugi is the beautiful practice of restoring broken pottery with precious metals, making it more attractive than it was originally.
Keidle approaches volunteering with the same Zen sensibilities, “I want to help people live better lives and help make the world a better place one tiny step at a time; I have been blessed and want to give back.” She loves working outdoors, so she volunteers with crop gleans and the gardens throughout the year. She says it provides a sense of purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction, “I get the sense that I’m helping others.”
Keidle’s philosophy of ‘improvement through small, sensible steps’ is at the heart of many of her comments. It’s easy to see why: it’s practical, simple to do, and it can have a transformative effect.
Even when the problem seems overwhelming, such as how to solve hunger in the Ozarks, Keidle maintains perspective and begins with a simple step. “First,” she says about the issue of hunger, “it must be acknowledged by everyone.” It’s only then that problem-solving can begin.
Keidle had a few ideas of where to start – all excess food at stores can be redistributed instead of thrown out (like Ozarks Food Harvest’s Retail Pick-Up program), neighborhood garden programs expanded, and garden education opportunities. Changes like that would mean people would have access to fresh food and know how to prepare it.
Keidle says not everyone acknowledges the issue of food insecurity in southwest Missouri, but she wished they did, and she wished they knew there was a lot of it. As an example, she mentions the 1,700 children that depend on The Weekend Backpack program. She explains, “I point out that children cannot learn or focus if they are hungry. If we want our children to succeed, we must make sure they have nutritious food available.”
She’s right, of course. If we help people out of hunger, it makes the world a better place. We just need everyone to take one tiny step at a time, like our wonderful volunteer partner, Mary Keidle. If you’d like to volunteer, register and schedule your sessions online here.