Volunteer Spotlight: The Cursive Crew


Ann (left) and Dolores (right) smile during a Tuesday morning letter-writing session.

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 21-27, 2013), Direct Relief has highlighted dedicated volunteers who help make the work possible. Learn about some of the wonderful people behind the scenes.

While 105-year-old Edythe Kirchmaier is perhaps our most well-known volunteer, she rarely works alone. Each Tuesday morning Dolores Marso and Ann Pless join her in hand-writing thank you letters to Direct Relief’s supporters.

“I think it’s important to acknowledge the gifts that people have given,” said Dolores, adding that she loves to study the addresses and see the national and international reach of people who care about improving the health and lives of others.

Dolores came to Direct Relief six years ago when her daughter joined as a staff member. “She always talked with pride about what Direct Relief does and that was an incentive to go there and give back,” reflected the Chicago area native.

Since then, she’s become more connected with the organization’s health-focused mission, especially after recovering from cancer several years ago. Dolores said the experience caused her to realize how important it is to help other people in need access good health care. “You want better for them,” she said.

Her fellow volunteer, Ann, expressed a similar desire to give back to those who haven’t had the same blessings she has had. “That’s what makes the world go ’round,” she stated.

After retiring in 2007, she began looking for ways to help around the community. In addition to writing letters, she helps with Meals on Wheels and regularly drives nuns in need of transportation to their medical appointments.

But volunteering at Direct Relief – where she has rarely missed a Tuesday since she started four years ago – remains a special part of her week. She said the camaraderie and friendship among the letter-writing team have molded her outlook on life. “I love being around people who are wise.”

Moreover, she said the regular practice of writing thank you’s to Direct Relief supporters has inspired her to hand-write letters of gratitude to people who have touched her life.

“The written thank you note is invaluable,” said Ann. “It’s not a lost art if there’s people like us around.”

Direct Relief is incredibly grateful for the help of these women and the rest of their team. Thank you, Dolores and Ann!

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