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A Volunteer's Story

A Volunteer's Story: Making a Difference, One Meal at a Time

Jessica AlbrechtJessica RielThe new Athol Senior Center sits in a building that, from the outside, appears to be full of humble storefronts. Once you enter the Center, however, you see that the space is quite large and inviting, with plenty of space for activities. In the rear of the building is the Athol Senior Dining Center, a new, spacious dining space with a good-sized kitchen, where two volunteers help guests feel right at home.

Irene Kazinskas has been volunteering at the Athol Senior Dining Center for four years. Kazinskas had not planned on becoming a volunteer the day she decided to meet a friend, Viola, at the Dining Center. “I just stopped in to have coffee with her,” Kazinskas explains. When she found out the Center was in need of help, she started volunteering. “It keeps me out of trouble,” Kazinskas smiles.

Robert Britt has been a Dining Center volunteer for 14 years, by his estimate, and he enjoys the work he does there. “I like to talk to the people in here,” he says.

Both the guests and the Dining Center Manager, Diane Coburn, appreciate their dedication. “I could not do this without Irene and Robert,” says Coburn, who has been managing the Center for about seven months. “It’s a real “Three Musketeers” kind of team effort, and it works very, very well.”

Athol Senior Dining CenterRobert Britt (left) and Irene Kazinskas (right), both residents of Athol, have been volunteering at the Athol Senior Dining Center for many years.Kazinskas and Britt work closely with Coburn, preparing the meals in the kitchen, as well as with serving the diners and cleaning up once the guests have finished. “It’s been very interesting just to get to know these two people,” Coburn says. “Both of them make coming to work fun and so enjoyable. Irene has a sense of humor that doesn’t quit. She just makes me laugh all the time. She sees things that need to be done and does them before I even have a chance to think about them. She’s one of the hardest working people I’ve ever met.”

“Robert is a joy, too,” Coburn goes on, “and a very giving kind of person. He’s a hard worker. He also has a great sense of humor.”

Kazinskas and Britt do not limit their volunteering to the Dining Center, either. They also help out at the Senior Center, reports Program Coordinator Judy Thayer, who remembers both volunteers helping during the move from the old Senior Center to the new location on Freedom Street.

“Robert and Irene are wonderful people,” says Coburn. “They’re compassionate, too. They’re good to everybody. They just do whatever they can to help out.”

To find out about how you can become a volunteer, click here