Oddfellow Canvas Painting

Odd-Volunteering – It’s Not What You Think

Volunteers play a critical role in supporting the mission of Mercy Housing. And, we love to share all the amazing stories about individuals and organizations that volunteer their time with us!

One special group of volunteers has been really helpful for residents in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Rushmore Oddfellows may have a funny-sounding name, but they are very serious when it comes to supporting people in need. The local lodge was chartered in 1880 and has been helping communities across the state ever since. They practice the principles of the Independent Order of Oddfellows, a national nonpolitical and nonsectarian organization focused on friendship, love, and truth, and strive to improve their community by aiding low-income people, youth, and seniors.

Oddfellow Holiday MealKaren has been a member of the lodge since 2011 and is the current Grand Noble. She has embraced the mission of the lodge and all the humanitarian work they do around the state. In her role, she has helped coordinate and provide the annual Thanksgiving meal at Northern Heights for the past three years. Karen would like to continue this tradition far into the future.

“They [residents] look forward to the satisfying meal, and we look forward to the fellowship serving them provides us. It is very humbling to know how much it means to the residents. We plan to continue this tradition,” said Karen.

The annual meal has become a fan favorite for everyone. Residents get so excited they start asking about it in August.

“At last year’s Thanksgiving meal, as I greeted and visited with folks there, seeing their familiar faces filled my heart with joy. I felt like we were all one big family. What a compassionate group of people they were, so willing to help each other. This is the epitome of Odd-fellowship,” said Karen.

The Oddfellows have volunteered in many other ways at Mercy Housing. Karen’s passion for art inspired her to offer residents painting classes at both family communities in Rapid City. The classes were very successful and Karen plans to offer more classes this spring. Additionally, the lodge has offered up lots of summer fun for kids with their Summer Splash outdoor party — complete with pizza, water games, relays, and prizes.

Mercy Housing is so thankful for this partnership and the amount of joy and happiness the Rushmore Oddfellows have spread to all they encounter.

“I see many big smiles, get warm hugs, and I know they truly appreciate when we show them our love and kindness. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to contribute to the welfare, morale, and programs of Mercy Housing. Serving this community is inspirational. I believe doing humanitarian work in our community is a promise we need to keep,” said Karen.

Thank you, Rushmore Oddfellows, for the amazing work you do! What a great role model you are for us all!