CCUSA 2020 Volunteer of the Year Finalist, Elsa Poole

Elsa Poole has volunteered at the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for 8 years in a variety of roles, including helping in the food pantry, working directly with clients on their intake for services, serving on an annual festival committee, and most recently with the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is a monthly meeting that equips grandparents with knowledge and resources for successful parenting while providing fun activities for the grandchildren.

Each month, Poole coordinates food, activities, prizes and games for over 75 adults and children that are involved in the program. Alongside program staff, she listens compassionately to the needs of the grandparents, addresses those needs with whatever internal resources are available, then connects with external resources to help families get what they need.

Throughout her time as a volunteer, Poole has been a model for others to follow as an example of Christ-like love and compassion. The way she takes time to make each individual client feel important is indicative of her passion for serving these people. Poole never makes it feel like a person is receiving social services, which can sometimes feel impersonal or stigmatized; instead, Poole serves without judgement and makes each person feel welcomed and heard so that they trust her to help them on their path to self-sufficiency.

Poole is giving clients a hand up without it feeling like a handout.