St. Kate's volunteers continue Citizen Katie community service tradition

Photo of two women wearing "Citizen Katie" T-shirts, with racks of clothes hanging in the background.

St. Catherine University students and alumnae, along with faculty and staff members, spent last Saturday morning serving nonprofit organizations on the annual Citizen Katie day. Nearly 300 volunteers met on campus for breakfast before heading out to 13 work sites around the Twin Cities. In addition, eight alumnae chapters participated through service projects in their own communities.

An online photo album from the event can be found on St. Kate's flickr.

At Dress for Success Twin Cities, Citizen Katie volunteers sorted donated clothing, and helped clients with suiting appointments. Close by, Katies served at CommonBond communities where they helped with sorting and filing children’s books.

St. Kate’s has formed an ongoing relationship with the Food Shelf at HCMC (Hennepin County Medical Center), where Katie volunteers serve several times each year. The Food Shelf, which addresses hunger and food insecurity among patients and their families, distributes 600 bags each week through its clinics. Bags contain meal packs, canned goods, toiletries and other essential items. The 31 Citizen Katie volunteers put together 661 meal packs and 564 bags on Saturday morning.

Sneha Saxena, development officer at the Hennepin Health Foundation, had high praise for St. Kate’s volunteers. Saxena told the group, "St. Kate's volunteers are the most organized. You come in less numbers and make more bags. Your numbers from your last two volunteer sessions are a record. No one has broken that record."

New to the list of Citizen Katie nonprofit partners this year was the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery. Volunteers swept the parking lot to prepare for repainting, picked up trash on the grounds, raked and bagged leaves, pulled weeds and sorted a year’s worth of Children’s Services documents.

Danielle Brady, volunteer services manager at the Minneapolis Crisis Nursery, thanked St. Kate’s volunteers for their quick and efficient work. “It was an absolute pleasure working with you this weekend. I can’t believe how much you got done in your time here. We can’t thank you enough!”

At a Habitat for Humanity build site on the east side of St. Paul, Citizen Katie volunteers installed siding on a new home. Volunteers at Coldwater Spring Park worked to remove buckthorn plants. To support Keystone Community Services’ Meals on Wheels program, Katies handcrafted 655 meal bags that will be distributed to clients.

With several new Twin Cities metro area chapters starting up in the last year, there were three chapter events that took place in the Twin Cities area. The new East Metro Chapter served at a Feed My Starving Children mobile pack site in Woodbury. Also new in the last year is the South Metro Chapter, which met at The Lewis House in Eagan for a morning of outdoor clean up work. For the third year, the West Metro Chapter volunteered at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners in Plymouth.

Other alumnae chapters participating in Citizen Katie were: Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Naples, Rochester and Seattle.

Citizen Katie began as a student initiative in 2004. In 2012, the event expanded to include alumnae, faculty and staff. Citizen Katie is a joint effort between Community Work and Learning, Residence Life, Student Center and Activities and Alumnae Relations.

By Sara Berhow