Carolyn Swenson, Help At Your Door’s Volunteer and Transportation Manager, has connected thousands of Minnesotans with meaningful opportunities to give back locally while helping to deliver life-changing services for older adults and people with disabilities. Her passion for supporting others through building a sense of belonging is innately a part of who she is. Carolyn notes, “I have always had an affinity for seniors, starting as a volunteer in college and continuing with jobs at a few different nonprofits. I started with Help At Your Door as a volunteer myself. I love working at an organization that is doing good in the world and helping people remain living in their communities where they are safe and comfortable.

Her work is essential to Help At Your Door’s mission. As a volunteer manager, Carolyn oversees the recruitment and placement of volunteers in various roles and gives ongoing support and recognition to those already donating their time. This past year, 499 Help At Your Door volunteers donated 16,591 hours of support services. Carolyn shares, “Our staff is small, and we would not be able to do what we do if we did not have volunteers providing so much of the ongoing direct service to our clients.”

Along with her role as the nonprofit’s volunteer manager, Carolyn serves as our Transportation Manager. She manages the rides program to ensure the fulfillment of client requests and troubleshoots any complications that may arise. She likes this role because every day is different. Carolyn notes, “It’s often a big puzzle to finish, but I enjoy the challenge and the satisfaction of putting the pieces into place. It’s also inspiring to meet and interact with our volunteers, who are such big-hearted people.”

Gloria – Carolyn’s Mother

The quality of our services led Carolyn’s mother, Gloria, to sign up for Help at Your Door’s Grocery Assistance program when she was recovering from knee surgery this past summer. Gloria’s recuperation time was longer than intended (due to needing a second surgery), so resources to provide support, in addition to the assistance Carolyn gives her, were beneficial all around.

Through our program, older adults and people with disabilities can place orders either over the phone or online. After order placement, we shop for the requested groceries, deliver the items to their home, and help put them away. We provide a personalized approach that is mindful of the challenges that may come with changes in health and aging.

Gloria appreciates the grocery assistance service as it has enabled her to continue focusing on recovery and building strength while avoiding unnecessary risks this time of year, remarking, “It has made my life easier, not having to be concerned with going out in the cold, ice, and snow. The phone ordering is easy, saving me from worrying about getting out to take care of my groceries. The delivery people are very kind, courteous, friendly, and helpful!  I find it to be a very convenient service. “ 

Carolyn’s Daughter

Carolyn’s passion for giving back extends to home as her daughter recently began volunteering with Help At Your Door. Her daughter helps with administrative projects in our Golden Valley office, which has given her insight into Carolyn’s work and the importance of volunteering. Carolyn is grateful for her daughter’s experience, acknowledging, “It’s fun to share a bit of that part of my life with her and for her to know she’s helping an organization that is also helping her grandma. It’s a nice circle.”

Like her daughter’s decision to volunteer, many choose to donate their time because they have a personal connection to our cause. Carolyn believes people volunteer with an organization because something about the mission resonates with them. She explains, “Often it’s because they’ve been able to help their family member remain at home, and they want to help others do the same.  Or they live far from their family and can’t help as much as they’d like, so they choose to help someone locally.”

These days, Help At Your Door realizes that people are busier than ever and may have many competing priorities. That’s why we offer a variety of flexible opportunities, some with minimal time commitments. As Carolyn says, “Our organization is a place where you feel a tangible impact with your volunteer efforts – in most cases, you are directly connecting with our clients and helping them to ease some of those daily challenges.”

Want to give back to your community through Help At Your Door? For information about specific roles, read our volunteer webpage or contact us: 651-642-1892 | We also offer group volunteer activities!

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