Volunteer Appreciation Month: Gretchen Hofmann

Coalition for the Homeless

Volunteers are the heart of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. From serving meals to collecting partially-used toilet paper rolls (stay tuned for that one), these game-changers transform the lives of our neighbors in need. During the month of April, we’re celebrating our volunteers by sharing a few of their stories.

Let’s start with adventure-seeking, retired Marketing and Sales Exec Gretchen Hofmann

How did you get involved with Coalition for the Homeless?  I really feel for people who don’t have a permanent place to call home. Marty Vevera, Director of Volunteer Services, was my first contact and hooked me in with her enthusiasm and passion. The Coalition is a terrific cause.

Why do you support the Coalition?  I believe everyone should have a safe, warm bed to sleep in at night. It seems like such a simple gift, yet it’s out of reach for so many.

How often and in what capacity do you volunteer?  I volunteer on Wednesdays in the admin office helping Muffet Robinson, Director of Communications and Community Relations, and the team. I’ve been doing it for about three years.

What has surprised you most about working with the Coalition?  The diversity of the staff, the clients, and the volunteers. I don’t think I’ve ever been in one place where so many different types of people come together for one cause.

What do you wish other people knew about homelessness?  Any one of us could end up being homeless through circumstances beyond our control. The Coalition is a lifeline for people most in need.

What is your fondest memory of volunteering?  One day a young woman from the First Steps Substance Abuse Recovery Program came into the office giddy-happy about getting a job at a pizza place, working 50 hours a week – 10 of which would pay overtime. She was getting her life back on track and was on top of the world. She was the happiest person I’ve come across in a long time, and she was inspiring in so many ways.

What do you do when you aren’t volunteering?  Wander, play some golf, help out at my church, play at the beach, and do what I can to help out a friend, whenever, wherever.

How would someone describe you?  Someone who always takes a different path, breaks the rules, likes to solve problems, and loves practical jokes.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?  I’ve run off a cliff, jumped out of a plane, and am going on a zip line this weekend. Rain or shine, I love a good adventure.