Retired sisters stay close by giving back together
On a cold December morning at C-Street Connect at Crimson House, an Ozarks Food Harvest member food pantry, retired sisters Ruth Ann Storms and Eileen Deal worked quickly to pack food bags to give to pantry clients.
Now that the two have completed their careers, they enjoy giving their time to the community.
Deal began volunteering at Ozarks Food Harvest first. She looked at several organizations to devote her time to, but she chose The Food Bank because she liked the camaraderie and fast-paced environment.
“It was very active, and I really felt like it was making a contribution,” Deal said. “Ruth was just retired, and I said, ‘Well come with me, you’ll like this.’”
Storms agreed with Deal and shared the importance of volunteering. “No matter what community I have gone into, I’ve contributed. It widens your circle of people you meet. Giving back to your community is a major thing, because this is where you live, this is where you need to expand.”
The sisters enjoy how the volunteer center is a place where they can be themselves. With a few tears in her eyes, Deal mentioned when her dog passed away, her fellow volunteers and volunteer coaches were kind and comforting.
Storms said that she and Deal love to dance to the upbeat music that is often playing in the volunteer center.
Although the Springfield community is where Deal and Storms grew up, they moved away as adults. Now back in Springfield, the sisters live 20 minutes away from each other.
“There are stages of life,” said older sister Storms. “You are close when you are little kids, but then everyone goes off and gets married and does a career and then you start coming back together … which I think is lovely, because now we bring life experiences and careers and attitudes and changes in our whole everything back to that family group, and it shows you somehow have changed and how you haven’t changed.”
Storms and Deal retired from successful careers. Storms was a caregiver for her children until her husband passed away, causing her to have to join the workforce and go back to school to become an accountant.
Deal worked in marketing for the computer industry. She focused on the European market where she traveled from Scandinavia to the Northern Mediterranean.
She holds her arms in the air, displaying one that stretches out farther than the other. “I traveled so much, that one arm is longer than the other. I carried my briefcase in this one. I know every airport and hotel in every major city in Europe.”
When they are not volunteering, Storms enjoys camping with her husband in their RV. Deal, whose idea of camping is staying at the Hilton, is going back to school at Missouri State University to learn how to write in French with the hopes of assisting refugees from the Congo with translating important documents.
The bond Storms and Deal share is evident. “I am really very proud of my sister,” Storms said. “She’s got such a good heart, [and] she’s very successful in so many ways. To be proud of your sister is a good thing, and to be able to do this with her makes me very proud.”
“Do you see me blush?” Deal remarked. “I so enjoy her being around, it’s really fun. We have a good time at Ozarks Food Harvest. Contributing doesn’t have to be dour; it is a joyful happy place.”
Become a Volunteer