Senior Connections Senior Connections May 2019

Connecting Seniors Through News, Information, and Advertising May 2019 VOLUME 1 | NO. 10 Senior Connections HJ.COM GRAB ONE - FREE! Winsted’s Bonnie Schmidt fi nds joy in helping others JAN ENGELHARDT Correspondent Warm-hearted, outgoing, and cheerful, Bonnie Schmidt of Winsted represents the best of ‘Min- nesota Nice.’ She is an active volunteer with several organizations in the community, including Meals on Wheels, Friends in the Kitchen, and her church, St. John’s Lutheran. A lifelong Minnesotan, born and raised in Wood Lake in the southwest corner of the state, Bonnie is passionate about neighborliness and community spirit. When her husband, Keith’s job brought the couple to the Twin Cities, they settled in Winsted in 1970, where they raised three children. Over the years, Bonnie worked several jobs in the community, eventually, retiring at age 62. Al- though health concerns necessitated her retirement, as Bonnie said, “Something wasn’t right. I needed to do something. Sitting home wasn’t much of an accomplishment, and I started going back to church at 62,” which led to much of her volunteerism, es- pecially her work with the community meal. As one of its founders, Winsted’s monthly com- munity meal is particularly important to Bonnie. “As I got more involved in [St. John’s Lutheran] church, the pastor, Pastor [Mark] Loder, at that time, approached me one day and asked me if I would go with him and a couple of parishioners over to Watertown, because they had what’s called a com- munity meal there. He said, ‘I’d like you to go with me and observe what you think.’ “So, I went. You know, so many times when we go as groups, we think we have to sit together, can’t mingle. Well, I made up my mind when I got in there, I was going to reach out to other folks. And I sat with this wonderful, 90-some year-old lady. It was just wonderful! It’s so amazing how the Lord works, because it turned out that she was from the area where I was born and raised ... It’s so intrigu- ing to hear from older folks about how their lives went, what they did, where they were. “We were just visiting, and, I don’t know, something just inspired me. So, on the way home, Pastor Loder said, ‘What do you think?’ “I said, ‘My heart’s on fi re! Let’s go for it! If it works, it works. If it don’t, it don’t.’ So, we put that [community meal] together. “Bill Pearson is our cook. Without him, honestly, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s the fourth Thursday of every month from 5:30 until 7 p.m., except for November and De- cember. “It’s just amazing how the Lord works. Without Him, it wouldn’t be possible, that’s for sure. We have a good group every month. Our numbers have been good. “When we started this, we weren’t antici- pating any money, but after a couple times, people were complaining that we didn’t have a donation box. So, we did put a donation box out. It’s wonderful now because every meal pretty much pays for itself. Plus, we have some private parties who do give donations from the community. We have also gotten permission from St. Mary’s to use their bus, because I wanted people from Linden Wood [senior living commu- nity] to have access if they wanted to go. “It is so special, because we have people coming from all over. We have gotten so many comments from people that they so appreciate it. It gets them out of the house, and they can come down and visit. Reaching out to one another is always a good thing. It’s a good thing. “When people ask me what they can do, my com- ment to them is ‘Come down and join us for the meal. Observe what’s going on. If there’s some- thing you feel comfortable with [doing], you can. You don’t need to call anybody. You don’t have to Senior Connections set a time. We work from about 3 o’clock to 7 or 7:30 ... You can come anytime during that time. We can always fi nd something for you to do. And if not, you can just fellowship. That’s important, too.’” Bonnie volunteers each Wednesday with Meals on Wheels. She has special affection for the senior citizens she serves, “I love them. I’ve always en- joyed being around elderly people. I have so much fun with them. They are just important people. “While I was doing Meals on Wheels, I was no- ticing a lot of people needed help with different things, so I kind of put myself out there. I put my phone number up on their [Meals on Wheels] bul- letin board, ‘If you need something, please call me.’ More SCHMIDT on Pg 3 is distributed to: Annandale | Buffalo | Cokato | Darwin | Dassel | Delano | Glencoe | Howard Lake | Hutchinson | Kimball | Lester Prairie Litchfi eld | Loretto | Maple Lake | Maple Plain | Mayer | Montrose | Mound | New Germany | Norwood Young America Rockford | Silver Lake | South Haven | St. Bonifacius | Waconia | Watertown | Waverly | Winsted