Retired assistant finds purpose in volunteering

Retired assistant finds purpose in volunteering

August 6, 2015 in Volunteer Spotlight

After Arlene Eichler retired, she was anxious to find something meaningful to fill her days.

“I get up early and exercise,” the 71-year-old shared, “but after that I thought, ‘Now what am I going to do?’”

Arlene began volunteering at Ozarks Food Harvest nearly four years ago and since then has given 657 hours of her time. She also volunteers twice a week with Well of Life, an OFH member agency.

“Between Ozarks Food Harvest and the pantry, it’s given me real purpose,” she said. “And interacting with people in need has been a real eye-opening experience.”

Arlene worked for 31 years as an administrative assistant to the executive team at Tuthill Vacuum and Blower Systems in Springfield. She moved to the Ozarks in 1978 from New Jersey.

She said she doesn’t have family in the area, but she does have very close friends, many of whom she met while volunteering.

“This has really filled a void for me, I just really feel like I am doing something worthwhile, and I’ve met some really nice people,” she said.

Arlene wasn’t aware how severe the issue of hunger was in the Ozarks until she started volunteering. She said it bothers her to see so many people struggling, especially children.

“As I’ve gotten older, it’s made me more sensitive that people need a helping hand.”

A self-proclaimed “Girl Scout,” Arlene said she has truly enjoyed giving back to her community.


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