Katherine Herbert, better known as Kay, is a SHEro because, in one the most uncertain times in her life, she’s choosing to serve others who are struggling to meet their basic needs.
Service to her community is nothing new for Kay, even in the current circumstances are. As a young mother, she went through a divorce and struggled financially. She preserved on as she put herself through college and found a good job—and a fulfilling career—in the insurance industry. Kay expressed her gratitude for her stable situation with action: volunteering. She’s volunteered most of her adult life—generally supporting programs addressing hunger and homelessness and splitting her service between organizations in Florida and Massachusetts. She’s been happiest since retirement in 2006, because she was able to volunteer even more often.
Until last year, Kay and her husband were snowbirds, splitting their year between their two communities. When he died suddenly last year, she decided to follow her dream of moving to Clearwater, Florida, full-time and permanently.
Like most heroes, Kay humbly downplays her dedication and acts of service, casting it as a selfish act: “I just can’t stand not having something to do,” she laughs.
Before the global pandemic, Kay was volunteering two days a week at a local food bank that serves more than 70,000 people each year, including 32,000 senior citizens and children. “I really enjoyed interacting with the guests at the food bank,” she says of her volunteer duties.
And when COVID-19 came to her hometown, Kay was as concerned as anyone about her own personal health implications, but she was even more concerned about her community and her favorite food bank: “I knew that a lot of the volunteers were concerned about being exposed to the virus and didn’t want to come in. I decided that I’d continue to volunteer, to make sure the nonprofit could still help people.”
Kay knows that people are in desperate need and has seen a lot of first-time visitors to the food bank. “With so many people out of work, we’re seeing people who’ve never needed this help before. And we’ve no idea how soon that situation will change.”
Knowing the pandemic created real financial struggles for others, she was driven to continue to serve.
“I just feel it’s more important than ever to volunteer.”
And that is why Kay is one of our SHEroes.
To learn more about the organization Kay volunteers with, visit RCS Pinellas.
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