Judy Olson was once a Nevada County resident for 23 years and active volunteer of Hospitality House, helping in a variety of capacities, including cooking, special events and holiday decorating. In Feb. 2019, Judy moved to Reno, Nevada to be closer to family, but she couldn’t cut ties with Hospitality House completely.
“Hospitality House matters to me because it offers our most vulnerable fellow human beings a needed refuge,” said Judy. “And more than beds, meals, showers, etc., they go the extra mile, with the case workers helping to move the guests along to housing and jobs, and health providers who tend to their physical needs. I am especially gratified to know that Hospitality House now offers assistance for those recently discharged from hospitals and are in need of rehabilitation. All of this matters so much for guests to be able to enjoy quality of life.”
Judy first helped on the “Lunch Bunch” crew in 2010, which was a volunteer group that prepared daily lunches for those in need before Hospitality House had its permanent shelter. When Utah’s Place opened in 2013, she and friends formed the “Kitchen Kut Ups” and began cooking monthly, with Judy mainly leading the drink station (the group still cooks today—pre-pandemic). In time, guests began to recognize the Kitchen Kut Ups as the group who offered the most amazing hot mulled cider. Judy was also nicknamed the “Decorating Lady” for her creative flair and willingness to bring a little piece of home into the shelter for the holidays.
Judy’s greatest joys were the interactions that she shared with guests. She often inspired the guests to each write what they were most thankful for on large posters that were hung in the shelter for all to appreciate. She also cherished listening to guests play her late mother’s piano, which she donated to the shelter in 2014. Judy always strived to connect not only with the guests but fellow volunteers, too. One year she organized a surprise appreciation party for Mary Liebke (the shelter’s faithful volunteer food group coordinator) and she also rallied volunteers to help purchase the “Place to Rest” bench at the shelter.
When Judy moved, volunteering from afar wasn’t practical, but she found a way to stay connected to Hospitality House. Today, she is an honored long-time member of the Hearts & Hands Club, a group of donors who give monthly to support the greatest needs as they arise.
“It’s a convenient and easy way to donate without a strain on one’s budget, resulting in a nice total sum each year,” explained Judy. “Since it is automatically deducted, there is no need for reminders and Hospitality House can rely on receiving needed income on a regular basis.”
Judy’s monthly support helps people receive emergency shelter, healthy meals, case management, mental health counseling, housing assistance and more. From afar, Judy continues to improve the livelihood of others.
Thank you, Judy, for being a part of the Hospitality House family now and always.