A Charmed Life, A Lasting Legacy
By anyone's standard, Ellen has lived a charmed life. She fully admits that she has never wanted for anything-not friends, not shelter, not food. For this reason, the 81 year old feels compelled to help her hungry neighbors.
"I have been blessed by having a life free of want, and I am retired so I have time to give to others," she admits. "I want to give as much as I can to people who have not been so fortunate. And food is what makes it possible for people to survive."
If you're a Minnesota Gophers fan, you may recognize Ellen's kind face. For more than 18 years, Ellen worked full-time in the Gopher's ticket office, selling tickets to sporting events. Most people slow down when they retire. Yet in a way, Ellen is busier today than when she was receiving a weekly paycheck. Today, she has multiple "jobs."
"I volunteer for Second Harvest Heartland packing food and working at special events [Ellen recently answered donor phone calls at our annual Let's Kick Hunger Day Radiothon," she said. "I volunteer at Union Gospel Mission, at Joseph's Coat, and at a hospice care facility."
She also has hobbies. Lots of hobbies.
"In the summer, I spend many hours in my garden and taking care of the yard. In the winter, I do more reading. I also make my own greeting cards and paint in my 'studio.'"
You can call Ellen busy; you can call her generous; you can even call her creative-just don't make the mistake of calling her an artist.
"I took a painting class years ago that got me started," she said. "I don't claim to be an artist but enjoy puttering with cards for all occasions. Sometimes I take pictures of flowers in my garden, trees displaying beautiful fall colors, snow-covered trees, etc., and turn them into cards."
As if giving so much of her time weren't enough, Ellen designated Second Harvest Heartland as a beneficiary of part of her IRA. This is in addition to her annual contributions from stock holdings, which, she notes, have the added benefit of lowering her taxes.
"Some years ago, I was at a local food shelf where I regularly donate, and they said that money was better than goods," she said. "They explained that by giving money, I was enabling the food shelf to purchase what was needed most. At that point I looked more broadly than the food shelf in the community in which I lived, spoke with several friends, and settled on Second Harvest Heartland. I have been donating since 2010, and several years ago added Second Harvest Heartland to my estate plan."
Ellen said that if there were one misconception about needing help that she could challenge, it would be this: "That people can get themselves out of any situation if they just tried hard enough, and if a person is needy, they will accept any donation no matter what condition it is in."
Define Your Legacy
You can secure your legacy in a most meaningful way by making a commitment to the long-term stability of Second Harvest Heartland and the people we serve.
Using bequests made through wills, IRAs, revocable living trusts, appreciated stock, real estate, mutual funds, securities, life insurance and other giving options, you can ease the stress and worry of hunger for countless people well into the future. Learn more about all the ways you can help.