HILLSDALE, Mich. (WLNS) — Kristin Lucas is the coordinator of King’s Kupboard Food Pantry at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hillsdale.
She’s been volunteering in her community for decades, helping to improve the lives of countless Hillsdale County residents.
The journeys into volunteerism started 42 years ago when she vividly remembers getting a phone call that changed her life.
“A woman from the local mental health agency was calling and they were looking for someone to start a committee on spousal abuse. I was recommended and I was stunned cuz that was outside my life experience,” Kristin said.
But that didn’t deter Kristin. Instead, through her leadership – she rallied those around her and created a program offering a 24-hour crisis line, and temporary housing.
It was so successful the state helped fund it –and soon- Kristin opened an office and hired a small paid staff. Her vision took root and grew into what is now “ Domestic Harmony” – a shelter for domestic violence victims.
“At least when they are there, they are not getting beaten, there are not getting killed. even if it’s for one or 2 nights.. It may keep them alive,” she said.
“And the more I met the women we worked with, the more it became clear that was an issue that needed a whole lot of work, not just a shelter, a change in law enforcement, which we were able to bring about after 19 years, when I was the executive Director of Domestic Harmony.
Kristin also saw a need to empower young girls… during the 1990’s she started “GIRLS Too! “ This one-day event encouraged middle school girls to study math and sciences to prepare them for college and their future careers. In the span of 12 years, the program reached more than 18-hundred girls throughout Hillsdale County.
In 2001, Kristin took her passions overseas – traveling to Bratislava, Slovakia where she taught English as a second language in a Lutheran High school. Something she had always dreamed of doing.
“I would get up before dawn, to make it to my first class, she said. “I would ride a bus across the
Danube River and I am still in contact with some of the students 20 years later!”
A year later and back home, Kristin began serving on the board of St. Peter’s Free clinic in Hillsdale. Eventually, she became the board chair. The need for healthcare was so great that she organized the clinic’s biggest annual fundraiser.
“They were seeing 60-tp 70- people every tuesday night at this free clinic,” she said, “which was staffed by volunteer doctors, volunteer pharmacists, volunteer nurses.”
Kristin also stepped up when she saw Seniors struggling with their income taxes. Now, she’s one of several volunteers who helps prepare hundreds of tax returns for low-income Hillsdale County residents.
As you can see, her volunteer portfolio is diverse.. But she has a philosophy about that..
“With volunteers, a real win-win is when “what you need to have done”.. Can be matched with some who really likes doing that.”
“And can I be the one to do it?”