Congratulations to Lisa Widder, our September Volunteer of the Month! Lisa has been volunteering with us for a little over 2 years and is superstar at serving breakfast. Learn more about Lisa below!

How did you hear about Inspiration Corporation?
I walked by! I can’t drive so I run all of my errands via public transit and on foot. You walk up and down Broadway enough times and you start to wonder about the place near the corner with the big blue awning.

What is the most enjoyable part of volunteering for you?
Chatting with clients. I’ve come away from multiple shifts with words of inspiration/advice or simple truths that they’ve given to me. I gift those to someone else down the line to keep the human connection moving forward.

What is the most challenging?
Truly, just getting out of my own way. Homelessness is a huge issue but being empathetic doesn’t need to come with lots of sparklers and banners. Probably better if it doesn’t.

Why do you volunteer?
Having worked in non-profit, I’ve seen how challenging it can be to keep organizations that assist marginalized communities going. Also, it just makes me feel good – I think if more people knew about the endorphins, every charity would be packed to the gills with people giving their time.

What keeps you coming back to the Cafe?
Every single person. The clients and my fellow volunteers are all amazing.

Describe one of the most interesting experiences you’ve had as a volunteer.
There is a client with whom I do not connect. Whenever I saw that I was assigned to take the orders at this client’s table, I just knew I wasn’t going to get the warm fuzzies from them. At first, I’ll admit, I gave back as much attitude as I got. I figured that was just this client’s way. Then I saw said client interacting with another volunteer and it was 180 degrees from their interactions with me. After a bit more head-banging, I shifted my approach; I’m slightly more generous with my mood when it comes to this client now (which is different than just letting the client walk all over me). We may never be chatty buddies but we’ve agreed to some sort of unspoken treaty that allows me to serve and the client to accept. There’s a life lesson in that but don’t ask me to articulate it further because I just accept that it “is”.

What are your hobbies, besides volunteering?
Reading. Writing. Baseball. Cooking. Eating.

Do you have any advice for someone who is considering becoming a volunteer with Inspiration Corporation?
Stop considering, start doing. If you like rollercoasters (and who doesn’t?!), you’ll love volunteering here! You can be merrily pouring coffee and chatting your way through a light breakfast service, enjoying the extra time you get to spend with clients. Then, all of the sudden, the Café gets slammed! You’re running around trying to get everyone what they need. In an instant it’s 8am and service is over — and you feel a bit sad because you want to do it all over again!


Thank you Lisa for your continued service to Inspiration Corporation!